The government is STILL shut down

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN
2:53 p.m. ET, January 25, 2019
12:09 p.m. ET, January 2, 2019

These volunteers are cleaning up Joshua Tree National Park during the shutdown

From CNN's David Williams

John Lauretig, the executive director for Friends of Joshua Tree, spent part of his New Year's Day cleaning up in the California park.

Volunteers are gathering at 10 a.m. every day to clean up the park. He said they’ve had as many as 40 volunteers on one day (but most days they get a handful).

The volunteers climbed into dumpsters to haul off trash. Lauretig said they filled two pickup trucks and trailers with trash during this cleanup.

“We got the trash cans about half full now instead of overflowing,” he said.

The volunteers are also cleaning toilets and trying to service as many bathrooms and trash cans as they can, but Lauretig said that the more popular areas need daily attention.

“Even if we hit one of the popular trailheads or parking lots today we have to go out tomorrow and service it again,” he said.

Here's a look at the cleanup work:

11:01 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

More than 21,000 National Park Service employees furloughed

A sign is posted on a fence near an entrance to the Bunker Hill Monument on Dec. 24 in Boston

The National Park Service's contingency plan deems 13% of its 24,681 employees “essential."

That means 21,383 employees are furloughed.

Of the 3,298 employees deemed essential, 2,111 of them are law enforcement, park police, fire and EMS personnel.

Here's how the National Park Service put it in its plan:

"Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to suspend all activities and secure national park facilities that operate using appropriations that are now lapsed, except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property," 

This is the full breakdown of essential vs. furloughed employees: 

10:15 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

Smithsonian museums, National Zoo close doors due to shutdown

The Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington, DC, closed their doors Wednesday as the partial government shutdown entered its 12th day.

The 19 museums in the Smithsonian Institution's collection and the National Zoo initially remained open during the shutdown, which started on Dec. 22. In a tweet on Dec. 27, the institution said the museums and zoo would close Jan. 2 if there was no deal to fund the government.

"Due to the federal government shutdown, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed," the institution said in statement released Wednesday.

"Museum and National Zoo programming and events are also canceled."

In addition to the National Zoo's grounds being closed to the public, its live-animal cameras -- including the popular panda cam -- will not be operating during the shutdown, the statement said.

Here's the message currently posted on the Panda cam's website.

The institution, however, said the National Zoo intends to continue feeding and caring for the animals during the stalemate. "A shutdown will not affect the Zoo's commitment to the safety of staff and the standard of excellence in animal care," the statement read.

Keep reading.

10:11 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

Democrats have a plan to reopen the government. It's probably a nonstarter for Republicans.

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Ted Barrett

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic leaders have settled on a legislative strategy to reopen the government, with votes expected on proposals just hours after the party takes control on Thursday, a Democratic aide confirms to CNN.

The Democrats plan to vote on a bipartisan package of six Senate spending bills and a stopgap measure to re-open the Department of Homeland Security at its current funding levels until February 8, the aide said. The temporary measure would maintain the current $1.3 billion in border security money, which can be used for fencing and repairs of current barriers.

But this will not reopen the government: Both the Republican-controlled Senate and the soon-to-be-Democrat-controlled House need to pass a plan. And after that, President Trump would need to sign it.

The House Democrats' plan to take the first legislative action remains a nonstarter for Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear he will not move forward on any legislation until President Trump signs off on it. And Trump hasn't wavered on his demand for border wall funding.

9:54 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

Congressional leaders will meet in the White House Situation Room today for a border security briefing

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

President Trump will host congressional leaders in the Situation Room for a 3 p.m. ET briefing on border security, according to the White House.

What's at stake: The meeting comes as negotiations to re-open about a quarter of the federal government have been frozen for nearly two weeks, and just one day before Democrats take over as the majority party in the House. Compromise proposals, to the extent they existed in the first place, have not been traded or even discussed in recent days as both sides settled into their respective positions.

Who's likely to attend: A Hill source familiar with the meeting said few details are known about this homeland security briefing, including who will lead it, what else is on the agenda or who else will attend. The invited congressional leaders include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and incoming House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the source said.

9:47 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

Federal employees union sues government over lack of pay

From CNN's Caroline Kelly

A federal employee labor union is suing the US government for requiring "essential" employees to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

The American Federation of Government Employees alleged Monday that the government is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees deemed essential to work without pay.

About a quarter of the government has been affected by the shutdown, including correctional officers, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and transportation security officers. Across different government agencies, about 380,000 federal employees will be furloughed and 420,000 will work without pay due to the shutdown continuing into the new year.

AFGE filed the suit in the US Court of Federal Claims on behalf of all essential government workers, as well as named plaintiffs Justin Tarovisky and Grayson Sharp, who work for the Bureau of Prisoners.

The union's president, J. David Cox, called the requirement that some federal employees work without pay "inhumane" in a statement Monday.

"Our nation's heroes, AFGE members and their families deserve the decency of knowing when their next paycheck is coming and that they will be paid for their work," he said, adding that many of the affected workers are veterans or law enforcement. "Our intent is to force the government and the administration to make all federal employees whole."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

9:51 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

It's the 12th day of the government shutdown. Here's how we got here.

A sign is displayed outside of a US government building December 22. The partial government shutdown is set to stretch through Christmas as the Senate adjourned Saturday without a deal.

The federal government partially shut down at midnight on Dec. 21 after lawmakers and President Trump were unable to reach a deal that includes $5 billion for his long-promised border wall.

The shutdown marked the first time in 40 years that the government closed three times in one year.

But this isn't a full shut down: Funding for roughly a quarter of the federal government expired, including appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and other parts of the government.

President Trump stayed in Washington, foregoing holiday plans in Florida, during the shutdown. But negotiations have been at a standstill.

So what happens now? House Democratic leaders have settled on a legislative strategy to reopen the government, with votes expected on proposals just hours after the party takes control on Thursday, a Democratic aide confirmed to CNN.

But remember: The House Democrats' plan remains a nonstarter for Republicans, who still control the chamber on the other side of the US Capitol.

9:15 a.m. ET, January 2, 2019

Trump is expected to meet with congressional leaders today

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

President Trump has invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House, according to two congressional sources, setting the stage for the first meeting between top Democratic and Republican leaders and the President since the partial government shutdown began 12 days ago. 

Details on the meeting are still being worked out, but we're expecting it to happen this afternoon.

The meeting would come as negotiations to re-open about a quarter of the federal government have been frozen for nearly two weeks, and just one day before Democrats take over as the majority party in the House. Compromise proposals, to the extent they existed in the first place, have not been traded or even discussed in recent days as both sides settled into their respective positions. 

According to the source, the invited congressional leaders include:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin
  • Presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
  • Incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
  • Incoming House Minority Whip Steve Scalise