US govt shuts down as Republicans and Democrats fail to pass a short-term budget
Many federal agencies will close as Republicans and Democrats fail to pass a short-term budget; shutdown sparks bitter blame game
US President Donald Trump marked the first anniversary of his inauguration on Saturday with his government in shutdown, accusing Democrats of taking Americans hostage with their demands and saying they "could have easily made a deal." As the clock struck midnight, in the absence of an agreed spending plan, federal services began to come to a halt or be scaled back. 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.
"This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present," Trump said. A deal had appeared on Friday afternoon, 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. Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declared that he would never negotiate an immigration deal until Congress agrees to resume normal government spending.
Essential services and military operations will continue, but many American civil servants and diplomats could arrive at work on Monday only to find themselves sent home without pay until the political crisis is resolved. Trump accused the Democrats of putting US troops and border security at risk to score political points.
Donald J Trump @realDonaldTrump:
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!
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