December 28, 2018 12:33:23
More Americans blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial United States Government shutdown that’s now in its sixth day and shows no signs of ending soon, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
- Just 25 per cent of those surveyed supported Mr Trump shutting down the Government
- US Congress convened for less than three minutes before adjourning until next week
- The shutdown impact has been limited to date but that’s likely to change soon
Forty-seven per cent of adults hold Mr Trump responsible, while 33 per cent blame Democrats in Congress, according to the December 21-25 poll, conducted mostly after the shutdown began. Seven per cent of Americans blamed congressional Republicans.
The shutdown was triggered by Mr Trump’s demand, largely opposed by Democrats and some lawmakers from his own Republican Party, that taxpayers provide him with US$5 billion ($7.1 billion) to help pay for a wall that he wants to build along the US-Mexico border.
Its total estimated cost is US$23 billion ($32 billion).
Only 25 per cent of those surveyed in the opinion poll said they supported Mr Trump shutting down the Government over the matter.
In a statement that made no mention of the border wall, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “The President has made clear that any bill to fund the Government must adequately fund border security”.
On Twitter, Mr Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Democrats, blaming them for the shutdown and claiming that most public servants not receiving salaries are Democrats.
Earlier this month, he said he would be “proud to shut down the government” over wall funding.
Both chambers of Congress convened for less than three minutes late on Thursday (local time), with neither taking any action to end the shutdown before adjourning until next week.
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern tried to interrupt the brief Republican-run House session by offering a measure to reopen shuttered Government agencies and keep them running until February 8. But he was ignored and his microphone was soon cut off.
“That was a legitimate request and I should have been recognised,” Mr McGovern told reporters later.
“They wouldn’t even recognise me. This is the way they’ve been running this place.”
Shutdown on track to drag into next week
While its impact has been limited so far, partly due to many of the 800,000 or so federal workers affected being on holidays, that could change soon.
Government agencies have begun notifying the public about service disruptions.
The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the federal workforce, offered advice to Government employees on staving off creditors if paycheques lapse.
The wall dispute coincided with the expiration of funding for about 20 per cent of the Government. The remaining 80 per cent is fully funded and is unaffected by the shutdown.
The departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies, shut down “non-essential” operations on Saturday after a tentative funding deal collapsed over Mr Trump’s renewed insistence that wall funding be provided.
The House has approved a shutdown-ending spending measure that includes Mr Trump’s demand for $5 billion, but its prospects in the Senate are seen as poor.
The next firm action on the issue is likely to come on January 3, when the Democrats take majority control of the House.
At that time, Mr McGovern said, Democrats expect to offer a spending measure “plus probably disaster relief funding”.
Speaking to reporters after the brief Senate session, Senator Pat Roberts said: “We on the Republican side do not want to vote for a bill the President won’t sign”.
Mr Trump argues that his wall is needed to stem illegal immigration and drugs entering the country — a key plank in his 2016 presidential campaign and, he hinted on Twitter, in 2020.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll gathered responses from 2,440 adults, including 946 Democrats and 846 Republicans across the US.