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By Dareh Gregorian

Hundreds of furloughed government workers and contractors descended on the White House on Thursday to plead to be allowed to return to work.

Holding signs such as “Stop the war on workers” and “We want work, not walls,” the protesters assembled in the bitter cold outside of AFL-CIO union headquarters before making their way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Donald Trump wasn’t at the White House, but many of the protesters blamed him for the shutdown, which has now stretched in to its 20th day with no end in sight. Congress and the president have been locked in a stalemate over his demand for $5.7 billion to build a border wall that he’d said Mexico would pay for.

Over 800,000 workers have been affected by the partial government shutdown, which will become the longest in the country’s history by Saturday.

“I’d like the shutdown to end. I’d like to go back to my job,” said Matthew Chrichton, a 32-year-old staffer for the Peace Corps, adding that he’d moved to Washington for his job four months ago and “living in DC is expensive.”

“I have rent to pay,” he said. “I have bills I need to pay. I want to go to work, and I can’t because they can’t figure out how to fund the government.”

Others pointed the finger at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has declined to take up spending bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House to reopen government without paying for a wall.

J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said McConnell should do his “damn job and let there be a vote.” Workers chanted “get us paid.”

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Hundreds of federal workers and contractors rally against the partial federal government shutdown outside the headquarters of the AFL-CIO on Jan. 10, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Smaller scale protests were held around the country, including in New York, Detroit, Dallas and Ogden, Utah, where the IRS is one of the area’s largest employers.

“Please let us go back to work, we’re hungry. We’re running out of money and it’s not about any party,” said Trina Ford, who’s worked for the IRS for 26 years, in Ogden. “I’m a committed employee. I commit to the government. I don’t want to not be paid.”

She said her daughter works at the agency as well, and has two young kids of her own.

“Usually, mama can help out. Mama can’t help her out this time,” Ford said. “It’s killing me.”

While Trump missed the protest in Washington, he was greeted by hundreds of demonstrators in McAllen, Texas, where he was visiting the border.

Associated Press and Vaughn Hillyard contributed.

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Politics

Sturgeon told quit the ‘grandstanding!’ Hunt slaps down whingeing SNP chief over Indyref2

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JEREMY HUNT has told Nicola Sturgeon to quit the “grandstanding” over calls for a second Scottish independence referendum as a war of words between the Foreign Secretary and Scotland’s First Minister erupts.

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DNC names 20 candidates who will appear on stage for first Democratic debate

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The Democratic National Committee on Thursday named the 20 presidential candidates who qualified to appear on stage later this month in the first primary debate of the 2020 campaign.

They are:

  1. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
  2. Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  3. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey*
  4. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg*
  5. Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro*
  6. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  7. Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
  8. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii*
  9. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York*
  10. Sen. Kamala Harris of California*
  11. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado
  12. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington*
  13. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota*
  14. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas*
  15. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
  16. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont*
  17. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
  18. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts*
  19. Author Marianne Williamson*
  20. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang*

The DNC, which is sanctioning the debate, set two ways for candidates to qualify — fundraising and polling. To make the stage, candidates needed to have either at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.

The candidates marked with an asterisk qualified through both polling and grassroots fundraising thresholds, the DNC said. The others qualified through polling only.

Those who did not meet the threshold for the first debate include: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel; Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam; and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.

Bullock told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Thursday in an interview on “Meet the Press Daily” that he was “disappointed” with the DNC’s decision but declined to say if he would challenge it.

“I certainly knew getting in at the time I did would give me fewer opportunities to be on shows with youand others, but I had a job to do,” said Bullock, who announced his bid in mid-May. “And if it ultimately ever came down to choosing between getting Medicaid reauthorized, getting 100,000 Montanans health care versus getting in earlier just to try to bump up on yet another poll, I would make that same choice time and time again.”

He added that he is an “important voice” in the field, since Montana voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in 2016, and noted that there will be more opportunities to introduce himself to voters before the first primary next year, including future debates.

“I am the only one in the field that won in a Trump state and we need to win back some of the places we’ve lost,” he said.

The two-night debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, will take place on June 26 and 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami. The event will air live across all three networks from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m ET both nights.

Ten candidates at a time will appear on stage, but the lineup for each night has not been determined, nor has where the candidates will stand. Both nights will have the same format, NBC News previously announced. It is the first of 12 primary debates the DNC has planned.

Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debate, NBC announced Tuesday.

The debate will also stream online free on NBC News’ digital platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms.

Dartunorro Clark contributed.

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Tom Watson: Could Tom Watson challenge Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership?

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TOM WATSON is the deputy Labour leader and is calling for a fresh referendum, but could he challenge Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership?

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