‘Shut Down the Wall, Open the Government’ day of action set for Jan. 29
With U.S. President Donald Trump‘s State of the Union address, set for Jan. 29, blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid a government shutdown, activists are joining up for a “day of action” aimed at stopping the administration’s push to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Shut Down the Wall, Open the Government is being organized by activist groups MoveOn and Indivisible and is set to take place on the same day that the president was supposed to deliver his address to a joint session of Congress.
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Reports initially suggested that Trump was seeking an alternative venue for the address after Pelosi blocked him from delivering it in the House of Representatives chamber.
However, he tweeted on Wednesday that he wasn’t looking for one “because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House chamber.”
But Katie Hill, a California congresswoman who was elected to the House in November’s midterm elections, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday that “we need to hear from the people, not the president on that day.”
“I can’t tell anyone in my official capacity to activate but I come from an activist background, and this is the moment where senators need to hear from people,” she said.
Hill spoke one day before the Senate was set to vote on two proposals to reopen federal agencies that have been closed during the shutdown.
One proposal, advanced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would meet Trump’s offer to obtain funding for his proposed border wall in exchange for temporary protections for certain immigrants.
The other proposal, advanced by the Democrats, would open the government until Feb. 8 but would not provide any money for the wall.
Neither is expected to pass.
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The day of action will see events take place in numerous cities, including Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, New York and Washington, D.C.
There, activists plan to “stand together with immigrant communities, federal workers, and all of us who are impacted by the shutdown to show that we won’t be divided by Trump’s antics,” said an event description.
“We won’t fund Trump’s racist wall with our taxpayer dollars, the government must be reopened, and people seeking asylum must be let in.”
Protests will take place at “Senate offices, closed federal government offices, national parks” and other facilities that have been hit by the shutdown.
Another protest already took place on Wednesday at the Senate building in Washington, D.C.
There, government workers protested the shutdown, holding up paper plates with the slogan “Let us work!”
“We estimated that this shutdown could shave approximately $1.2 billion off real GDP in the quarter for each week that part of the government is closed,” S&P chief economist Ann Bovino said in a report.
“That may seem like pennies for the world’s biggest economy, but it means a lot to those workers trying to cover their household costs without their paycheques.”
As many as 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed — or have found themselves working unpaid — since the shutdown began.
—With files from Katie Dangerfield and the Associated Press
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