Thousands off work as US Govt shutdown enters third day


22 Jan, 2018

Thousands off work as US Govt shutdown enters third day

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be waking up on Monday to no work after senators failed yet again to strike a deal for a vote late on Sunday.

However, there remains a glimmer of hope with the Senate due to vote on stop-gap funding at 12pm (5pm UK time) on Monday. This measure would keep the federal government full up and running again at least until 8 February.

Why did the US Government shut down?

This all started on Friday when the Republican-controlled Senate failed to agree on a new budget due to a lack of Democratic support. Within the 100-member, Republicans have a narrow majority of 51, however, they need at least 60 votes to pass the spending bill.

Both sides are now playing the blame game. There are several reasons for the stalemate, with the two sides failing to reach a compromise on issues such as health care, disaster relief and military spending. Although, one of the main stumbling blocks appears to be immigration.

Democrats argue that the Republican plan to shelve the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme is unacceptable.

President Donald Trump said in September he was shutting the scheme, after previously saying he would not. Republicans have attempted to reach a compromise by offering a six-year extension to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which benefits lower-income families.

The last time the US Government went into shutdown was in 2013 under President Barack Obama, when around 800,000 workers were granted leave. Back then, it was the Republicans who received the brunt of the blame for the shutdown, whereas the opposite seems to be true this time round, according to US polls.

The number of federal workers told to stay home for Monday is estimated to be around 850,000. This includes the roughly 740,000 civilians who work for the Pentagon. However, vital services such as law enforcement, immigration officers, the central bank, veterans' hospitals and the military will remain operational.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

In order to avoid a crisis, CNBC reports that some democrats could be willing to give immigration concessions to Republicans, including on the border wall.

Furthermore, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell outlined what appeared to be assurances to Democrats, who have nearly all opposed the short-term GOP proposals to keep the Government running until 8 February at least.