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In the midst of a partial government shutdown due to an impasse over border security, the US State Department has had to cancel an international conference focused on that very issue. As it entered its 32nd day on Tuesday, FBI agents are warning the record-breaking shutdown is also hampering investigations into sex crimes and presenting other threats to national security. The US Attorney's Office is also unable to issue grand jury subpoenas.
Meanwhile, approximately one in 10 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents called in sick over the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend. Many are reportedly doing so because they can no longer afford to work without pay. The lack of screeners has forced major airports in Miami and Atlanta to close some screening areas, causing delays. Some of the 800,000 federal government employees forced to go on unpaid leave or work without wages report that they are running up credit card debt, taking out loans and even flocking to pawn shops.
President Trump’s legislation to reopen the government appeared almost certain to stall in the Senate this week, as Democrats condemned its proposed changes to asylum rules and the Supreme Court on Tuesday undercut the central plank of Trump’s effort to draw Democratic support.