Sunday, January 21, 2018

A year on, Trump leads divided US govt into closure

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Republican US Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole during Dole’s Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for on Capitol Hill January 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. PHOTO | AFP 

        Washington. President Donald Trump marked the first anniversary of his inauguration Saturday with his government in shutdown, accusing Democrats of taking Americans hostage with their demands.

From midnight Friday, in the absence of an agreed spending plan, federal services began to come to a halt or be scaled back, even as lawmakers continued to argue on the floor of the Senate

Essential services and military activity will continue but many public sector workers will be sent home without wages and even serving soldiers will not be paid until a deal is reached to reopen the US government.

A deal to avert the shutdown had appeared likely earlier Friday, when Trump seemed to be close to an agreement with Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer on a measure to prevent the expulsion of undocumented migrants who arrived in the country as children.

But no such compromise was in the language that reached Congress for a stop-gap motion to keep the government open for four more weeks while a final arrangement is discussed -- and Republicans failed to win enough Democratic support to bring it to a vote. The White House lashed out at Schumer, blaming him for the shutdown and doubling down: Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declared that he would never negotiate an immigration deal at all until Congress agrees to resume normal government spending. “Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” she declared.

“Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.

“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” she said. Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell echoed the White House’s language, but Schumer fought back, blaming Trump for leading him to believe a deal was possible on the immigration dispute but then failing to bring his own party along. (AFP)     

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