Hillary Clinton weighs in as partial government shutdown becomes longest in history

Hillary Clinton weighed in on the partial government shutdown Saturday, telling supporters that “Americans can’t afford another day” — as the Washington stalemate became the longest in history, eclipsing the record set in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, Hillary’s husband.

The shutdown, which began just before Christmas, entered its second day Saturday, making it officially longer than the 21-day closure under President Bill Clinton. That ended on Jan. 6, 1996. Nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments are not funded, including departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, State and Justice.

Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 election, noted the record set and said on Twitter that “the costs are already high.”

“People are missing paychecks, losing business, or working without pay. Our national parks are overrun with trash. The FDA and FBI warn of the harm to our food safety and national security,” she said.

She then warned “Americans can’t afford another day” and urged supporters to call their senators and “demand a vote to re-open” — focusing specifically on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Republicans and Democrats have been unable to come to an agreement over President Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall or a barrier. Democrats have said they would support $1.6 billion for more general border security, but not specifically for a wall. Democratic leaders have accused Trump of manufacturing a crisis.

Trump on Saturday said that the Democrats could “solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes.”

Trump has said he would consider declaring a national emergency, which would give him powers to build the wall without congressional approval — a move that would likely be aggressively opposed by Democrats, and even some Republicans.

But on Friday he said he was holding off on making such a declaration, saying Congress should vote instead.

“The easy solution is for me to call a national emergency,” he said at a border security roundtable. “But I’m not going to do that so fast as this is something Congress should do and we’re waiting for the Democrats to vote.”

“It’s the easy way out, but Congress should do this. It’s too simple, too basic and Congress should do this,” he said.

But Trump has seen some encouragement from Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said he believes that Democrats have no intention of making a deal.

“Mr. President, declare a national emergency now,” he said. “Build a wall now.”

But there were other Republicans critical of the president.

“That is not a historical claim that I think any president or any Congress should want to make” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told the Associated Press, referring to the length of the shutdown.

Meanwhile, the pressure on Washington to strike a deal was intensifying as most furloughed workers missed a paycheck for the first time on Friday.

The House of Representatives on Friday voted to approved a measure that had passed the Senate to ensure federal workers furloughed during the shutdown are paid retroactively when the government re-opens. Trump is expected to sign the bill.

Chad Pergram, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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