Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia accused President Donald Trump of “treating” federal employees affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown “like poker chips at one of his failed casinos” as the president and Democrats hold firm on their positions over border wall funding.
Sen. Warner was responding to an article published by “The Hill” reporting on a tweet written by President Trump early Thursday morning, in which Trump asked without providing any evidence if “Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats.”
Sen. Warner called the tweet “outrageous” on Thursday.
“This is outrageous. Federal employees don’t go to work wearing red or blue jerseys,” Warner wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “They’re public servants. And the President is treating them like poker chips at one of his failed casinos.”
The federal government went into a partial shutdown at midnight on Friday affecting a quarter of the federal government’s agencies and about 800,000 federal employees. About one-half of the impacted employees are currently furloughed with the other half, deemed essential, working without pay.
As with previous government shutdowns, the impacted federal employees end up receiving the back pay for the shutdown period once the government resumes full operations.
The partial shutdown occurred because the U.S. Senate did not bring up a continuing resolution for vote to fund the government into February after it failed to gain the required 60 votes in support of the bill to pass over a measure in the bill appropriated $5.7 billion for border wall construction.
Senate rules require a 60-vote threshold to pass funding/spending bills. Republicans only hold a narrow majority of 51-49. The Senate can change the rules with a simple majority vote, known as the “nuclear option,” but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R. KY, has refused to execute this option for the CR.
The CR passed in the U.S. House of Representatives late last Thursday after President Trump announced earlier in the day that he would not sign a bill without at least $5 billion in border wall construction funding.
Democrats in both Houses of Congress stand opposed to any border wall funding.
President Trump is standing firm on border wall construction funding that will help fulfill a campaign promise to construct a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. On Wednesday during a surprise trip to Iraq to visit U.S. military troops, Trump said that he will do “whatever it takes” to get funding for the border wall.
“You have to have a wall, you have to have protection,” Trump said on Wednesday.
Trump reiterated the need for a border wall on Thursday on Twitter.
“Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country.”