Democrat Introduces Bill to Close Gym During Government Shutdown

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By NTD Newsroom
December 25, 2018US News
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A Democrat lawmaker introduced legislation to close the gym and sauna used by members of Congress during a government shutdown, blaming Republicans for “an abdication of their responsibilities as elected officials.”

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) introduced the Shutdown Prioritization Act (SPA) following the partial government shutdown on Dec. 23. The bill would keep the Architect of the Capitol—who is the builder and steward for landmark buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill—from operating the gym during a government shutdown.

Foster introduced the bill following the partial government shutdown, which occurred on midnight Dec. 21, after lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on budget legislation. The key stumbling block in the discussions is President Donald Trump’s request of $5.7 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sent senators home until Dec. 27, after there appeared to be no immediate hope of a new deal on the bill.

The partial shutdown, which has entered its fourth day, has impacted 25 percent of the government and 15 percent of the federal workforce, officials said. More than 420,000 government employees would be working without pay and over 380,000 would be furloughed, according to the projection by Senate Appropriations Committee staff.

In a statement, Foster blamed President Donald Trump and Republicans for refusing to “sign a clean continuing resolution to reopen [the] government,” specifically singling out House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has a reputation for having a rigorous workout routine.

“Speaker Ryan continues to use the gym during this shutdown while federal workers face uncertainty over the holidays,” Foster said.

Trump Firm on Building Wall

Trump told reporters at the White House on Dec. 25, that he wishes to have the whole wall along the southern border completed by Nov. 3, 2020.

“I can’t tell when the government’s going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump said. “I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country, from drugs, … human trafficking.”

The border wall was one of Trump’s signature promises, which he presented as necessary to ensure border security by preventing unvetted people from coming across illegally.

“A drone isn’t going to stop it. High technology is not going to stop it. The only thing that stops it is a wall,” he said.

Earlier President Trump appealed to the Democrats to end the government shutdown by agreeing to fund the wall in a tweet, saying “Democrats must end Shutdown and finish funding. Billions of Dollars, & lives, will be saved!”

It’s unclear how long the shutdown will last. Democrats have repeatedly opposed Trump’s requested border wall funding. Trump also indicated that the shutdown could last for longer than usual because of their opposition.

Epoch Times reporter Bowen Xiao and Petr Svab contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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