U.S. GOVT. IN SHUTDOWN ON TRUMP INAUGURATION ANNIVERSARY | Daily News

U.S. GOVT. IN SHUTDOWN ON TRUMP INAUGURATION ANNIVERSARY

People participate in the second annual Women’s March in Washington.
People participate in the second annual Women’s March in Washington.

US: US 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.

Soon after the news broke, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney issued a memo to government agencies, telling them they “should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations”.

A deal 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 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.

“Every American knows the Republican Party controls White House, the Senate, the House -- it is their job to keep the government open. It is their job to work with us to move forward,” Schumer told the Senate, after the 50 to 49 vote. Republicans have a tenuous one-seat majority in the Senate but would have needed to lure some Democrats to their side to get a 60 vote supermajority to bring the motion forward. They fell ten votes short.

The measure brought to Congress would have extended federal funding until February 16 and reauthorized for six years a health insurance program for poor children -- a long-time Democratic objective.

But it would have cut the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals programme, known as DACA, that affects Dreamers. White House officials insisted there was no urgency to fix DACA, which expires March 5.

A new Washington Post/ABC poll found that 48 percent of Americans blame Trump and the Republicans for a potential shutdown, and only 28 percent hold Democrats responsible.

There have been four government shutdowns since 1990. In the last one in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave. International ratings agency Fitch said a partial shutdown was unlikely to affect America’s AAA/stable rating for US sovereign debt.

Meanwhile, Protestors took to the streets en masse across the United States Saturday, hoisting anti-Donald Trump placards, banging drums and donning pink hats for a second Women’s March opposing the president -- one year to the day of his inauguration.

Hundreds of thousands of marchers assembled in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, Boston and other cities nationwide, many donning the famous pink knit “pussy hats” -- a reference to Trump’s videotaped boasts of his license to grope women without repercussions.

Protestors hoisted signs emblazoned with slogans like “Fight like a girl”, “A woman’s place is in the White House” and “Elect a clown, expect a circus.”

The largest demonstrations were in cities where Trump performed poorly at the polls: the Los Angeles mayor said estimated turnout in his city was 600,000, while New York police estimated about 200,000 protesters.

In Manhattan, a diverse crowd descended on Central Park West, the avenue that borders the city’s beloved park and arrives at the foot of the Trump International Hotel -- part of the magnate-turned-commander-in-chief’s real estate empire. - AFP 


 

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