The State Department was forced to postpone a conference on border security due to the partial government shutdown caused by the stalemate between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over … border security.
In a letter obtained by CNN and addressed to 55 U.S. embassies and missions around the world, Office of Export Control Cooperation head Kathryn Insley said the 16th International Export Control and Border Security Conference would have to be rescheduled.
The conference, which was set to take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February, was being postponed “due to uncertainty associated with the continuing partial U.S. federal government shutdown,” the Jan. 16 letter stated.
Insley wrote that officials “are working to identify alternative dates” and would circle back with participants “as soon as we are operational again.”
A State Department spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday that the conference had been postponed as a result of the shutdown.
“In light of the very limited funding available during the lapse in appropriations, the Department will exercise judicious use of limited, remaining resources,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The conference typically brings together roughly “270 export control and border security practitioners from 85 partner countries involved in dual-use and conventional arms policy, licensing, and enforcement to promote the development of effective strategic trade management and counter proliferation measures,” the spokesperson said.
The Export Control and Related Border Security Program, which operates within the Office of Export Control Cooperation, works primarily to prevent the proliferation and transfer of arms, including weapons of mass destruction, across borders, according to the State Department website.
Trump has proclaimed border security to be a top priority of his administration, demanding that Congress agree to $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats in the House have agreed to fund up to $1.3 billion in fence maintenance and other border security measures.
The Senate is set to vote later this week on competing measures to reopen the government― one put forth by Republicans, the other by Democrats, neither of which is expected to pass.
The partial shutdown is now in its fifth week and has left some 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or working without pay.