Louisiana’s congressional delegation braces for federal shutdown

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) – On the Friday before Christmas, federal lawmakers face a prospect that many of them consider less-than-joyful: a partial government shutdown.

The shutdown would start at 12 a.m. Eastern if Congress fails to pass a spending plan. Democrats remain fixed against funding a wall at the Southern U.S. border, while Republicans — including all seven of Louisiana’s GOP delegates — declare President Donald Trump’s proposal a must-have.

“Barriers work, borders work, and security works,” Sen. Bill Cassidy said in a statement Friday afternoon. “Border security is national security. I hope we get it through.”

“Border walls work,” Sen. John Kennedy told reporters in a conference call Friday afternoon. “you can write that down and take it home to mama. It’s a fact.”

A shutdown would affect nine federal departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and the Treasury.

Roughly 380,000 federal workers would be furloughed under a shutdown. Another 420,000 workers — including air traffic controllers and transportation safety agents — would work without pay.

“It’s sad that protecting Americans and providing for the national defense has become a partisan issue,” Cassidy said.

Kennedy would not say who should take blame for the shutdown. He described ongoing negotiations as a process of trial and error.

“So far, there’s been more error than trial,” he said. “We will eventually get it worked out if people take their meds and negotiate in good faith.”

The only member of Louisiana’s D.C. delegation to not endorse border wall funding this week is Rep. Cedric Richmond. When House members took up the spending plan Thursday, the New Orleans Democrat did not cast a vote.

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