CARL AZUZ, cnn 10 ANCHOR: The U.S. government has been partially shutdown for almost two weeks. A down the middle explanation of what that means and what people are saying about it, our first subjects today on cnn 10. I'm Carl Azuz.
Since 1976 the Federal government has been partially shutdown more than 20 times. The most recent one began on December 22nd. Shutdowns occur when Congress and the president can't agree on how the government should be funded, what money should go where and the big sticking point in the current impasse is over a proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
President Donald Trump wants Congress to approve about $5 billion in funding for the wall. In December, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide that but the legislation was held up in the Senate where there weren't enough votes to pass it. When the deadline was up for a funding agreement and the government didn't have one, the partial shutdown began. So what does that mean? Most Americans aren't directly effected by government shutdowns but about 800,000 Federal workers are.
A little over half of them continue to work but don't get their paychecks on time. The others are sent home on furlough. They're forced to take time off without pay. Museums are closed in Washington, D.C., U.S. National Parks are open but mostly without workers. The agency that handles small business loans isn't processing applications. The IRS is mostly closed and some inspections by environmental and food and drug workers have stopped. Who's responsible for it? Democrats and Republicans blame each other.
DICK DURBIN: The president has made the decision that despite his responsibility to manage and lead this government, he would rather shut it down and hold it hostage for his beloved wall.
CARL AZUZ: And other Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have called the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive. President Trump says it's necessary.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is national security we're talking about. You know, just like we talk about the military. Just like we're talking about Syria or Afghanistan or all these different places. It's too important a subject to walk away from.
CARL AZUZ: And other Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham say the president needs to keep his promise to secure America's southern border.
How long could the shutdown go on? We don't know. The longest which happened at around this same time in 1995 and 1996, stretched for 21 days.