Government Shutdown

A congressional watchdog agency has decided that the Interior Department broke the law by using entrance fees to keep national parks open during the government shutdown this past winter. 

Esther Honig / KUNC

Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue announced Thursday at a hearing session with the Senate Agriculture Committee that a long anticipated program for dairy farmers will be available on June 17, 2019. Payments could go out in early July.

During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

As the clock ticks toward a Friday deadline to avert another partial government shutdown, a new stumbling block has emerged in talks between congressional Democrats and the White House: Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds.

U.S. House Democrats are holding a hearing Wednesday to look at how the Interior Department paid to keep national parks open during the partial government shutdown.

During the partial government shutdown, national parks remained open but did not collect entrance fees—an important source of revenue, especially for local maintenance. It's unclear how this will affect the National Park Service's budget.

In an hour-long hearing Thursday, frustrated Democrats on the House Natural Resources committee called out the Trump administration for "blatant favoritism" toward the oil and gas industry. California Congressman Alan Lowenthal complained oil and gas has gone unscathed while all walks of life are feeling the pain.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The partial shutdown of the government reduced federal spending by about $3 billion and cut into overall U.S. economic growth, according to a report released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The report says that because of the shutdown, which lasted from Dec. 22 through last Friday, about $18 billion in discretionary government spending was delayed. Most of the money will be spent later, now that the shutdown has ended.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees around the country are returning to work after being furloughed for more than a month. Thousands of others in the federal workforce did work during the 35-day shutdown but didn't get paid.

The Trump administration promises that by Friday federal workers will be paid the two consecutive paychecks that were missed as a result of the government being shuttered.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

The longest government shutdown in history ended after President Trump signed a bipartisan three-week stopgap funding measure late Friday. Several agencies had been partially shuttered for 35 days.

"I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government," Trump said earlier Friday in the White House Rose Garden, announcing the long-awaited bipartisan breakthrough.

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