NORAD's Santa Tracker Promises to Continue Running Despite US Government Shutdown

Politics is not going to get in the way of letting children and parents track Santa Claus' journey on Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) assured everyone that their annual Santa Tracker will still be operational despite the U.S. federal government shutdown.

Before the partial shutdown began late Friday night, NORAD confirmed on Twitter that the 63-year tradition will continue this year since the military personnel who keep it running are volunteers.

"In the event of a government shutdown, NORAD will continue with its 63-year tradition of NORAD Tracks Santa on Dec. 24. Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who make the program possible each and every year," the statement read.

NORAD is an organization jointly run by the U.S. and Canadian militaries. Since the Department of Defense is not one of the U.S. agencies that ran out of funding, NORAD's operations are not impacted. Even if the Defense Department was shut down, it likely would not have led the Santa Tracker to shutter since it is run by volunteers at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The "NORAD Tracks Santa" campaign has been running since 1955. Today, children, their parents and anyone else who just watched The Christmas Chronicles and wants to make sure Santa's sleigh is still working can follow Santa at NORADSanta.org. You can also call 1-877-HiNORAD on Christmas Eve for Santa's exact location on Christmas Eve.

The 2018 government shutdown left nine government departments without funding, leaving around 800,000 workers impacted. According to Reuters, 420,000 employees were deemed "essential" and have to work without pay. Another 380,000 workers will not not be at work.

The shutdown was caused by President Donald Trump's demand for funding of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. Senate passed a budget earlier this week without funding for the wall, but Trump rejected it Thursday. The U.S. House of Representatives then passed one with $5 billion in funding for the wall, but the Senate's version included much less for it. Trump and Congress failed to reach an agreement Friday night, kicking off the shut down.

Since the Senate adjourned Saturday afternoon without reaching any deal to keep the government funded, it is likely that the shutdown will continue through the holidays. As CNN notes, the next actual Senate session is not scheduled until Thursday. There is a pro forma Senate session on Monday if a deal is surprisingly reached on Sunday. In that case, the agreement could pass unanimously or by voice vote.

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Trump said on Twitter he cancelled his planned Christmas trip to his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida to stay in Washington while the shutdown continues.

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