Partial US Government Shut Down Enters Fifth Day

US Capitol building with a Christmas tree at night on the other side of a chain-link fence
US Capitol building.

A partial US government shutdown entered its fifth day on Wednesday with no signs of negotiation on breaking the stalemate over funding for a border wall.

President Donald Trump remained at the White House with no meetings or public appearances on his schedule, having cancelled plans to spend the Christmas holiday with his family in Florida.

Trump said Tuesday he didn’t know when the partial government shutdown would end, but vowed not to compromise “until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”

While Trump has insisted the United States needs a wall to control illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into the country, congressional Democrats have said they will not support the 5 billion dollars Trump wants, calling it a political move and a waste of money.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are adjourned until 4 pm (2100 GMT) Thursday. Next week brings a new Congress and a change in leadership in the House following the Democrats’ election successes last month.

The shutdown, which began Friday at midnight, has hit about 25 per cent of the federal government. Most heavily affected are the Commerce Department, Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Several hundred thousand US government employees across numerous agencies are working without pay, while others have been sent home on furlough.

Trump on Tuesday claimed the US was doing “very well” despite being unable to predict the end of the partial shutdown, which has rattled global markets.