Wednesday, 21 August, 2019


Deal Reached to Temporarily Reopen US Government

Trump has backed down on his demands for $5.7 billion for the US-Mexico border wall Trump has backed down on his demands for $5.7 billion for the US-Mexico border wall
Bennie Garza | 26 January, 2019, 11:32

With polls showing most Americans blamed him for the painful shutdown - the longest of its kind in United States history - Trump embraced a way out of the crisis that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for weeks.

Trump triggered the shutdown, which began on December 22, with his hard-line wall-funding demand but Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, rejected it on the grounds that a wall would be costly, ineffective and immoral.

Sanders' tweet was a follow-up to Trump's earlier tweet in which the president insisted the passing of the continuing resolution to end the shutdown - a measure that did not include funding for his border wall - was "in no way a concession".

Throughout, the two sides issued mutually exclusive demands that have blocked negotiations from even starting: Trump has refused to reopen government until Congress gives him the wall money, and congressional Democrats have rejected bargaining until he reopens government.

About 800,000 government workers have gone with pay for more than a month. His administration looked out of touch with ordinary Americans when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross wondered aloud in a CNBC interview why federal workers who missed two paychecks didn't just get loans. Pelosi rescinded her invitation to Trump to deliver his State of the Union speech in the House chamber on January 29, citing security concerns due to the shutdown.

"I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn't want to use it at this time", he said.

"I want to thank all of the incredible federal workers and their unbelievable families who have shown such extraordinary devotion in the face of this recent hardship", he said.

Trump and the Democrats in Congress had remained at odds over his demand that any compromise include money for his coveted border wall. "Democrats are firmly against the wall", Schumer said on Friday.

Trump signed it Friday night, restoring normal operations at a series of federal agencies until February 15 and opening the way to paying the 800,000 federal workers who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay for 35 days. Trump, who considered giving the speech at another venue, conceded late on Wednesday and said he would deliver the speech in the House in the "near future".

A key factor for Trump, the official said, were stories of law enforcement officials unable to adequately do their jobs because of the shutdown that had left 800,000 federal workers at home on furlough or working for no pay.

S&P U.S. chief economist Beth Ann Bovino estimated that the shutdown had cost US$1.2 billion in GDP growth per week, and had already cost the economy more than the US$5.7 billion the White House had requested for a border wall.

"But this shutdown never should have happened in the first place-we're in the exact same place we were five weeks ago, but our workers, our economy, and our country have seriously suffered".

Laura Atwood, whose husband is depending on federal grant funding that will run out in February, poses for a portrait prior to a protest Wednesday of the partial U.S government shutdown.

The president went on to reassert that many federal workers had backed him over the shutdown.

But Tiffany Cruz, who works at LaGuardia Airport in NY, which was also badly hit by delays, said she had little faith in Trump.

Some government services have been curtailed, as about 10 percent of airport security agents ordered to work have instead called in sick, some food inspections have been cut back, and museums and parks are closed.

In response to Trump's threat of another shutdown, Sanders, speaking from the Senate floor, said, "I think that the time is long overdue for the American people to tell this president he is not a dictator, he is not a king".

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