Poll: More blame President than Democrats for govt shutdown

A sign announcing the closure of the National Archives due to the partial government shutdown is displayed in Washington on Thursday. The shutdown is expected to last into next weekend as a House session late on Thursday lasted mere minutes, failing
A sign announcing the closure of the National Archives due to the partial government shutdown is displayed in Washington on Thursday. The shutdown is expected to last into next weekend as a House session late on Thursday lasted mere minutes, failing to make any headway in ending the impasse.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON• • More Americans blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial US government shutdown, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, as the closure stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight.

Forty-seven per cent of adults hold Mr Trump responsible, while 33 per cent blame Democrats in Congress, according to the poll, conducted mostly after the shutdown began. Seven per cent of Americans blamed congressional Republicans.

The shutdown was triggered by Mr Trump's demand, largely opposed by Democrats and some lawmakers from his own Republican Party, that taxpayers provide US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) to help pay for a wall that he wants to build along the US-Mexico border.

The total estimated cost of the wall is US$23 billion.

Just 35 per cent of those surveyed in the opinion poll said they backed including money for the wall in a congressional spending Bill.

Only 25 per cent said they supported Mr Trump shutting down the government over the matter.

In a statement on Thursday, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said: "The President has made clear that any Bill to fund the government must adequately fund border security."

  • 47%

    Of Americans hold President Donald Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown.

    33%

    Of Americans blame Democrats in Congress for the shutdown.

    7%

    Blame Republicans in Congress.

The statement made no mention of Mr Trump's proposed wall.

Showing little sense of urgency, both chambers of Congress convened for mere minutes late on Thursday, but neither took any action to end the shutdown before adjourning until next week.

Democrats and Republicans were still very far apart on resolving the impasse, said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer's spokesman, Mr Justin Goodman, in a statement.

Democratic Representative Jim McGovern tried to interrupt the brief Republican-run session in the House of Representatives by offering a measure to reopen shuttered government agencies and keep them running through Feb 8. But he was ignored and his microphone was soon cut off.

The House session lasted less than three minutes.

"That was a legitimate request and I should have been recognised," Mr McGovern told reporters later. "They wouldn't even recognise me. This is the way they've been running this place."

Inaction in Congress put the shutdown on track to continue into next week and possibly to drag well into January.

While its impact has been limited so far, partly due to holiday-season vacations under way for the 800,000 or so federal workers affected, that could change soon.

Government agencies began notifying the public on Thursday about service disruptions.

The wall dispute coincided with the expiration of funding for about 20 per cent of the government.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Poll: More blame President than Democrats for govt shutdown'. Print Edition | Subscribe