THE US government shutdown has cost the country $11 billion – twice the cost of Donald Trump’s proposed Mexico wall.
According to the Congressional Budget Office America’s economy lost the sum during the five-week period of the longest shutdown in US history.
Around 800,000 government workers went without pay after the President and Congress reached an impasse over a new funding bill.
The key sticking point was Trump’s demand that Congress include $5.7bn to build a wall along the Mexican border.
The shutdown ended on Friday when the President and Congress agreed to temporary government funding – without money for his wall.
Trump insists the wall is necessary to stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug smuggling, while Democrats call it costly and inefficient.
A committee of Republicans and Democrats have scheduled an initial meeting on Wednesday, as they try to negotiate a compromise on border security before the next deadline on February 15.
Families across the nation are still trying to recover from a month of missing paycheques and overdue bills
Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government again if lawmakers do not reach a deal he finds acceptable on border security.
The President has also said he might declare a national emergency to get money for the border wall. Democrats would likely challenge that in court.
Democratic lawmakers said the CBO report served as a stark warning to Trump against another shutdown.
“Families across the nation are still trying to recover from a month of missing paycheques and overdue bills, but the president is already threatening a second shutdown if he doesn’t get his way,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But Democratic senator, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, said she was willing to consider new sections of “strategic fencing” as part of a compromise.
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“We cannot have another government shutdown and I think it is incredibly important to make sure that the American people are never again used as pawns like this,” she said.
Most employees should be paid by Thursday for back wages, which one study estimated at $6 billion for all those who worked without pay or were laid off.
Contractors and businesses that relied on federal workers’ business face huge losses, although some lawmakers are pushing legislation to pay contractors back as well.
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