The Latest: Plans would send more troops to US-Mexico border
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the partial government shutdown (all times local):
U.S. officials say the Pentagon is finalizing plans that would send hundreds of additional active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for several more months to support the Department of Homeland Security and install another 160 miles (257 kilometers) of concertina wire in Arizona and California.
Details are being worked out, but the plan likely would extend the military’s border mission though the end of September. The mission is separate from President Donald Trump’s campaign to build a border wall but is designed to bolster security.
Officials said Friday the installation of the wire barrier is not expected to take that long, so troops doing that would be finished long before September.
There currently are 2,350 active-duty troops assigned to the border mission, which was slated to end Jan. 31.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet approved.
By Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor.
The House has voted to ensure that all federal employees will be paid retroactively after the partial government shutdown ends.
The bill passed Friday requires that all employees, including those who have been furloughed, be paid as soon as possible once the government reopens.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously Thursday. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
More than 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, missed their first paycheck Friday under the stoppage, which began Dec. 22.
Miami International Airport is closing a terminal this weekend due to the partial government shutdown because security screeners have been calling in sick at twice the airport’s normal rate.
Friday marks the first day screeners will miss a paycheck, and airport spokesman Greg Chin says there’s a concern there won’t be enough workers to handle all 11 checkpoints during normal hours over the weekend.
Chin says Terminal G will close at 1 p.m. Saturday, reopen for flights Sunday morning and close again at 1 p.m. that day.
The terminal serves United Airlines along with smaller carriers. Its closure means restaurants and shops that depend on departing flights also will close.
Chin told The Miami Herald that some passengers have complained about longer waits but there have been no abnormal security delays.
Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress says it is “unacceptable” for President Donald Trump to consider taking billions of dollars slated for disaster response in the U.S. territory to help build a border wall. She said to do so amounts to “playing with our pain and hope.”
A congressional official said Thursday the White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to look for billions of dollars earmarked last year for disaster response for Puerto Rico and other areas that could be diverted to a border wall.
Jenniffer Gonzalez said Friday that the island still has not received $2.5 billion in funds even though more than a year has passed since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm.
She says, “To use this now as a political football is not what U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico deserve.”
The money was set aside for projects including channeling rivers to prevent flooding, which has long been a widespread problem for the U.S. territory, especially during the Atlantic’s six-month hurricane season.
President Donald Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.
Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday under the stoppage, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. That left some Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly uncomfortable with Trump’s demands.
Asked about the plight of those going without pay, the president shifted the focus, saying he felt badly “for people that have family members that have been killed” by criminals who came over the border.