It’s official! The US government shutdown is now the longest ever

A record.
A record.
Image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
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At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 12, the partial government shutdown under Donald Trump became the longest in American history at 22 days. There’s no foreseeable end in sight.

Trump told reporters Friday afternoon the “Democrats have to help us,” reopen the government. US Senate and House members aren’t expected to return to Congress until Monday.

The government has been shut since Dec. 22 after Trump refused to sign a spending bill without funding for a wall at the US-Mexico border.

The previous record for the longest shutdown was 21 days  in the 1990s, when Democratic president Bill Clinton refused to sign a Republican-proposed bill that slashed spending.

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to get funding for the wall, but told reporters on Friday he was holding off. “It’s the easy way out, but Congress should do this,” he said. “If they can’t do it I will declare a national emergency.”

About 800,000 federal workers went without a paycheck today, and the ripple effects of the shutdown are being felt all across America. Asked about the workers, Trump said “I just really appreciate the fact that they have handled this so incredibly well.”