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The White House. Image: MattWade/commons.wikimedia.org

US federal govt shuts down over budget row

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2018

The US federal government shut down at midnight on Friday after the Senate failed to agree on a new budget to fund the government.
 
Despite last-minute bipartisan meetings, the bill to fund the government until February 16 did not receive the required 60 votes, said a BBC report. It is the first shutdown ever to happen while the same party, the Republicans, controls Congress and the White House, it said.
 
President Donald Trump's White House however immediately blamed Democrats for the shutdown.
 
"Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country's ability to serve all Americans," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement moments before midnight. "We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behaviour of obstructionist losers, not legislators."
 
But Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said President Donald Trump had turned down two bipartisan compromise deals and "did not press his party in Congress".
 
"It's almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown," Schumer said from the Senate floor. "And now we will have one. And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump's shoulders. This will be called the Trump shutdown. This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in than President Trump."
 
In shutdowns, nonessential government employees are furloughed, or placed on temporary unpaid leave. Workers deemed essential, including those dealing with public safety and national security, keep working.
 
The Defense Department said on Friday that a shutdown would not affect the U.S. military’s war in Afghanistan or its operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria. All 1.3 million military personnel on active duty would remain on normal duty status. Civilian personnel in nonessential operations would be furloughed.
 
More than 1,000 of the 1,715 staff at the White House would be furloughed, the Trump administration said on Friday. 
 
The Trump administration plans to keep national parks open with rangers and security guards on duty. 



Tags: Budget |

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