The partial U.S. government shutdown, would could cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars a week, entered its sixth day Thursday with President Donald Trump vowing to do "whatever it takes" to secure funding for a wall he claims is desperately needed along the U.S. border with Mexico.
"The ball is in Nancy's court," Trump told reporters during a surprise visit to a U.S. military airbase in Al Asad, Iraq, referring to ranking Democratic House member Nancy Pelosi, who has opposed Trump's demand for border wall funds -- mocking his change in tone on its construction as "a beaded curtain" -- and will take over as House Speaker on January 3.
"Whatever it takes," Trump told reporters in Iraq. "We need a wall. We need safety for our country. Even from this standpoint. We have terrorists coming in through the southern border."
Trump is seeking $5 billion from the federal budget to pay for his planned wall, while Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in boarder security commitments. The impasse has led to a lapse in funding, and the subsequent closure, of key government departments, including Justice and Homeland Security, and the furlough or pay suspension of nearly 800,000 federal employees.
The current shutdown is the third of year, and the longest since a two-week shutdown under President Barack Obama in 2013 that the White House Office of Management and Budget said cost $2.5 billion in compensation for furloughed workers and Standard & Poor's said clipped quarterly GDP growth by some $24 billion.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that data releases from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis will be delayed during the shutdown, a move that likely means today's new homes sales data for the month of December will not be published. However, the Journal also reported that the Labor Department will publish its data releases as normal, with weekly jobless claims figures set for release at 8:30 am eastern time.