US government shuts down after no deal

Updated: 23 December, 2018 11:33 IST | Agencies | Washington

Trumps warns this may last a 'very long time' unless Democrats approve border wall funding

The US Capitol ahead of the partial government shutdown in Washington DC. Pics/AFP
The US Capitol ahead of the partial government shutdown in Washington DC. Pics/AFP

A partial shutdown of the US federal administration began on Saturday after lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement over President Donald Trump's border wall funding demands. Negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate reached a deadlock over Trump's demand to include a $5 billion allocation in the budget for his long-promised wall along the Mexican border.

Lawmakers adjourned last-minute talks on Friday evening. This was the third partial shutdown of the Trump administration in 2018 after a three-day deadlock in January and another which lasted a few hours in February. In the absence of the agreement, funding for about a quarter of all US federal agencies lapsed at midnight, including appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and other parts of the government.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

In this situation, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will have to work unpaid or be put on temporary leave. This time, the President has said that he was ready to face a long shutdown in order to achieve his demands. In a video address published on Trump's Twitter account shortly before the shutdown began, the President insisted the onus was on the Democrats to resolve the closure. Senior Democrats accused Trump of provoking the situation with a "temper tantrum".

"We're going to have a shutdown. There's nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes," the President said. Lawmakers were set to meet again on Saturday. Trump may see this negotiation as his last opportunity to get funding for the wall — one of his major campaign promises — as the Democrats are set to gain control of the House of Representatives in January.

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer

On Wednesday, a stopgap spending bill was passed in order to keep federal agencies open until February 8, but the agreement did not include funding for Trump's wall.
The President then insisted funds for the wall must be included for him to sign it off.

The House on Thursday passed legislation that included Trump's request for $5 billion for the border wall, but it was clear on Friday that the demand did not have the votes needed to pass in the Senate, and was, therefore, not brought up for a vote. The Democrats remained resolute that US taxpayers should not pay for his plan.

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First Published: 23 December, 2018 07:00 IST

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