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Friday December 13th, 2019 11:35PM

The Latest: Pompeo says diplomats' morale good in shutdown

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the partial government shutdown (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) says American diplomats' morale remains "good" despite the government shutdown that's left many of them working without pay.

Pompeo is traveling in the Middle East as the shutdown is set to enter its fourth week. He says that diplomats realize political "squabbles in Washington" are prolonging the closure.

But he says they also understand that "their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them."

Almost half of State Department employees in the United States and about one-quarter abroad have been furloughed during the shutdown. And with the exception of certain local employees overseas, the rest are working without pay.

Even with the government closed, Pompeo says while in the United Arab Emirates that he still plans to host all U.S. ambassadors for a conference in Washington next week.

___

10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he's at the White House waiting for Democrats to return to Washington and help end the shutdown.

Lawmakers are expected back in Washington next week after Congress adjourned Friday.

Here's what Trump's tweeted: "Democrats should come back to Washington and work to end the Shutdown, while at the same time ending the horrible humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border. I am in the White House waiting for you!"

He says the shutdown could be solved in 15 minutes.

Trump met with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders at the White House this past week. But Trump abruptly ended the meeting soon after it began, calling it a "total waste of time" after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again refused to spend money to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall that Trump wants.

___

9:05 a.m.

Democrats are using their weekly radio address to challenge President Donald Trump and Senate Republican leaders to reopen the government and sit down to discuss border security measures that "we can all get behind."

Rep. Scott Peters of California says Democrats want to strengthen security along the U.S.-Mexico border, but not in the way the president does, with what Peters calls "a wall that is never going to be built."

Peters favors "smart approaches" that might include radar and sensors, drones with cameras, high-tech ways of detecting tunnels, and physical barriers such as levees or fences where it makes sense.

He says Democrats don't support a wall costing billions of dollars that will, in his words, "destroy sensitive lands, take private property, and can be tunneled under, climbed over or cut through."

To Peters, "that's not border security. That's borderline crazy."

___

12:05 a.m.

The federal government has entered Day 22 of a partial government shutdown, becoming the longest closure in U.S. history.

Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded. The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the government's largest agencies, are the most notable exceptions and continue to operate since they were funded through Sept. 30.

The previous record for the longest shutdown occurred during Bill Clinton's presidency. That one lasted from December 15, 1995, through January 6, 1996.

The current shutdown appears destined to last at least a few more days, Democratic lawmakers rejecting President Donald Trump's demands to include $5.7 billion for a border wall in a spending bill.

The shutdown has furloughed 380,000 federal workers and forced an additional 420,000 to work without pay.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
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