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Tuesday May 21st, 2019 1:23AM

The shutdown today: Political tit-for-tat continues

By The Associated Press
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What's up with the partial government shutdown on Day 27:

WHAT'S NEW

The shutdown battle between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned into an escalating game of constitutional brinksmanship as he denied her a military plane to visit troops in Afghanistan in apparent retaliation for her attempt to delay his State of Union address.

TSA officials say the rate of airport screeners missing work during the partial government shutdown has stabilized — but still at unusually high numbers — just before a three-day holiday weekend that is likely to bring bigger airport crowds.

The partial government shutdown is delaying training and other preparation for this year's wildfire season.

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QUOTES OF THE DAY

"I think a lot of people don't understand that while there's not fire going on out there right now, there's a lot of really critical work going on for the fire season — and that's not getting done," said Michael DeGrosky, chief of the Fire Protection Bureau for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

"One sophomoric response does not deserve another. Speaker Pelosi's threat to cancel the State of the Union is very irresponsible and blatantly political. President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate," said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

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WHAT'S COMING NEXT?

The State Department has instructed all U.S. diplomats in Washington and elsewhere to return to work next week with pay, saying it had found money for their salaries at least temporarily despite the ongoing government shutdown.

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WHAT REMAINS CLOSED

Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including Agriculture , Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Interior and Justice. Some iconic National Park facilities are shuttered as are the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington. Nearly everyone at NASA is being told to stay home.

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WHO IS AT WORK BUT NOT GETTING PAID

An estimated 460,000 employees are working without pay, including at the FBI, TSA and other federal law enforcement offices. Also, about 340,000 workers have been furloughed. Some federal contractors have also discontinued their services, leaving thousands of employees temporarily without work and without a paycheck.

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown

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