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Day one of partial federal shutdown: Things go ‘from bad to worse’

The federal government started a partial shutdown through Christmas, escalating a showdown over $5 billion for a border wall between President Trump and Congressional Democrats. Hundreds of thousands of government employees were unable to work and the impacts will only get worse. Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta joins Megan Thompson from D.C. for the latest.

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  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    For more on the shutdown, Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta joins us now from Washington, D.C.

    So, Damian, you've been keeping your eye on all the developments in Washington today. Can you just tell us what all has happened, and where do we stand now?

  • DAMIAN PALETTA:

    Sure. I mean, I think things have gone from bad to worse. We saw President Trump have lunch today with some hard line conservatives at the White House, people that really support his push to demand money for the border wall. Congressional leaders were on Capitol Hill but they made no real progress either. In fact, the Senate has adjourned until two days after Christmas. A number of federal agencies will be closed. We've already seen dozens of national parks closed today, and 380,000 federal workers, not to mention all the contractors and others, will be sent home without pay. Beginning Wednesday,

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    You mentioned that the Senate's adjourned until the 27th, but I mean how likely is it that we'll actually see this get resolved then? Or do you think that this might just continue until the Democrats take over the House in January?

  • DAMIAN PALETTA:

    It's increasingly starting to look like that. I mean once you get to the 27th, you're about a week away from Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. Democrats feel like they're on very solid ground here in this impasse because President Trump said last week that he would own the shutdown, he would be proud to shut down the government. The Republicans have kind of changed their position multiple times leading into the shutdown. And so Nancy Pelosi in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate have been able to unify the Democratic Party to hold firm and oppose any money for the wall. So the Democrats feel like they're in good position and they can maybe wait this out another week.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    Do you think that all of this political jockeying is kind of foreshadowing what we're gonna see when the new Congress comes into session?

  • DAMIAN PALETTA:

    Absolutely. It's a great question. I think both sides are kind of feeling each other out and neither side wants to give in. Nancy Pelosi, who's going to be the speaker of the House in January, needed to prove to her members, especially her new members, the New Democrats who were just elected, that she can stand up to President Trump and really hold the line. Similarly for Chuck Schumer, who will remain the Senate minority leader but who has a lot of power because Democrats can block legislation in the Senate. So with them working together, they really for the first time act as a big check on President Trump's authority. President Trump on the other hand feels like he has to take a tough position or Democrats will try to essentially take away all of his power. So there's a real showdown happening here and it could drag on for quite a while.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    So for the next few days, when the government is definitely going to be shut down, what kinds of things are we going to see? How is it going to affect people?

  • DAMIAN PALETTA:

    We saw many, many national parks today were closed. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis where I'm originally from was closed. Many other parks closed their doors around the country, even in Puerto Rico. They were closed. You know that's obviously inconvenient and hurts a lot of people who have businesses maybe connected to those national parks. I think Wednesday and Thursday we're going to start seeing the real impact on a lot of federal workers. Like I mentioned 380,000 federal workers will be sent home indefinitely without pay. Another 400,000 workers will continue to go to their jobs but they will not be paid until this is resolved. It's also important to keep in mind this is just a handful, multiple federal agencies but not all federal agencies will be impacted. The Pentagon is not impacted but the Department of Homeland Security is impacted. So it could have kind of an uneven impact but it will definitely be felt by many people.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    All right. Damian Paletta of the Washington Post, thank you so much for joining us.

  • DAMIAN PALETTA:

    My pleasure, thank you.

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