U.S. National Christmas Tree site re-opened amid partial federal government shutdown
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 25, ARMENPRESS. The U.S. National Christmas Tree near the White House reopened on Monday despite the funding lapse caused by the government shutdown, NBC News reported. The site was re-opened as a result of donations.
The Christmas tree was closed after the U.S. federal government partially shut down.
“The National Park Foundation and hundreds of local philanthropic organizations and other park partners are always working to help ensure all people have access to our treasured national parks,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation’s support to President’s Park is one example of how private philanthropy can help support national parks when they need it most.”
The National Christmas Tree site was closed on December 21 due to damage to the tree and its lighting from an individual who climbed part of the tree that evening. Because of the lapse of appropriations on December 22, the National Park Service was unable to take the necessary steps to keep the park open. The National Park Foundation stepped in to provide the support needed to reopen, operate, and manage the National Christmas Tree site.
U.S. Park Police believe that the man who climbed the tree was in some kind of a distress. He eventually came down after negotiations with police and was taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
A partial United States government shutdown remains in effect after funding expired for roughly a quarter of the federal government when the clock struck midnight on Saturday -- and it is not clear when it will end, CNN reports.
Negotiations between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over the President Donald Trump’s demands for a border wall have so far not yielded an agreement, making it likely that the shutdown will continue until after Christmas. It is even possible that it could still be underway when the new Congress starts in early January.
The President's incoming acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that "it is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress" during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer have said that the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will pass a bill to stop the shutdown if it lasts into the new Congress.
"If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January," the Democratic leaders said in a joint statement after the shutdown started, according to CNN.
The key point in the spending standoff is President Donald Trump's demand for $5 billion for a border wall along Mexico.
Key parts of the federal government have been impacted by the shutdown, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
But the shutdown doesn’t mean that all of the activities of an affected federal department stop immediately.
Typically in the event of a U.S. government shutdown, some federal employees deemed essential continue to work, but their pay is withheld until the shutdown is over, while other federal employees are placed on furlough.
An estimated 800,000 federal employees may be impacted by the partial shutdown, either by having to work during it while their pay is withheld until it ends or by being furloughed, according to CNN.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan