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Stuck in shutdown standstill, GOP seems to punt to next Congress

Leaders in Congress announced that the House won't hold any votes over the weekend and that the Senate won't vote before the last day of the current Congress. President Trump has said he isn't budging on his demands for funds for a border wall. How will lawmakers resolve the shutdown? Lisa Desjardins sits down with William Brangham for an update.

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  • William Brangham:

    As we reported, it looks like 2018 will come to a close without a deal to end the government shutdown.

    Our Lisa Desjardins has been following it all and is here with the latest update.

    Hi, Lisa.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Hi.

  • William Brangham:

    So, it seems like we have a much better understanding now of how long this is going to last.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    We do.

    Late today, the leaders in Congress made some decisions. They announced that the House will not return until — will not have any votes over this weekend. And the Senate is now not expected to vote until next Wednesday at the earliest, as we have reported.

    But here's why that's so significant. Of course, obviously, Wednesday is the last day of this 150th Congress. The next day is when Democrats take over the House. So we have talked about this with viewers before. But what's important is now they have made that decision. Now they have given up on trying to reach a deal over the weekend, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

    And it looks like they are punting this entire issue to the next Congress, which is tough for Republicans on the Hill, who realize they have less leverage than they do now once Democrats take over the House.

  • William Brangham:

    And, as we heard, the president in Iraq and on Twitter since, he's still holding tight to, I want $5 billion to build the wall and I'm not budging.

    What's the other side — what are they arguing?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    The president also said that he felt that the Democrats have not responded to his offer. Democrats say, no, we responded, and we rejected your offer entirely.

    And now Nancy Pelosi is starting to signal that she doesn't want to fund any money for the wall, not just $1.3 billion, but going back to zero.

    So the two sides are actually getting farther apart.

  • William Brangham:

    I know, all week long, you have been trying to reach out to some of the federal employees who are out of work and not sure about their paychecks. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have been hearing?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    One story I want to highlight today, as we have been talking to more people, I spoke to a woman — or I — sorry — e-mailed with a woman who said that — I'm sorry — talked to her — so many people I have been talking to.

    I spoke to a woman on the phone from Massachusetts today who said she is delaying surgery that she has, because she's worried about having money for a co-pay. If her husband's salary doesn't come through, she thinks they won't be able to afford her surgery. So she's delaying it until the end of January, so that they can afford it, because she's so worried about a shutdown, so very real people being affected right now.

  • William Brangham:

    Amazing reporting.

    Lisa, thank you so much.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

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