US government in shutdown over spending bill

22 Jan 18

The US government has shutdown as Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on a spending bill on Friday.

Political leaders failed to reach another agreement on Sunday to end the shutdown, postponing the vote until today.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers did not go to work today as federal agencies remained closed with their funding ended at midnight on Friday, which meant wages could not be paid.

The spending bill would have keep the government running until the middle of February.

Although, it would not have been sufficient for it to function for the whole of 2018 as Congress failed to pass a complete budget by 1 October last year and the government has since been operating on a series of three stopgap spending bills.

Democrats disagreed with Trump’s immigration policies, including his order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which gave legal protections to thousands of immigrants.

They blocked a House-passed temporary funding bill to reopen the government’s doors until 16 February as they push for the protection of around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the US as children.

The Department of Defense published a memo detailing who does and does not get paid in a shutdown and said civilian employees were on “temporary leave”, except those needed to support active-duty troops.

A US judge blocked the plans to scrap the DACA programme last week.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday: “Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!”

However both sides blame the other for the shutdown.

The government was last shut down in 2013, as the Senate failed to agree on funding for former president Barack Obama’s healthcare law. 

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