Deadline Looms In U.S. Government Shutdown

71 Republic | WASHINGTON

The midnight deadline on Friday looms as the United States Senate attempts to avoid a federal government shutdown by passing a House-approved temporary spending bill. 

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What happens in a shutdown?

The House of Representatives voted late on Thursday 230 to 197 in favor to extend funding until Feb. 16 in what would be a fourth short-term budget measure to keep U.S. agencies funded.

Funding runs out at 12 a.m. on Saturday if a deal can’t be made in time.

The Democratic and Republican Party’s are still split over immigration, with the Democrats hoping to include protection for over 700,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to be protected from deportation.

Known as “Dreamers”, the young immigrants were granted a temporary stay status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also called DACA.

U.S. President Donald Trump last September announced he was cutting the program, giving Congress until March to propose a replacement.

Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer shortly after noon on Friday at the White House, likely in an effort to find a solution to unite the Senate in passing a spending bill before the deadline.

The last government shutdown in 2013 caused $24 billion USD in lost economic activity.

The Technicalities

The budget package needs 60 votes out of 100 to pass the U.S. Senate before the deadline midnight on Friday, but the Republican Party only has 51 seats in the upper legislature.

The latest reports place 47 Republican Senators in the “yes” camp for the current budget proposal, with three leaning towards a “no” vote.

Although Republicans would need 12 Democrat votes to pass the short-term spending bill, only West Virginia’s Joe Manchin has said he will vote in favor.

Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Arizona’s Jeff Flake have all stated their opposition to the bill.

Graham says that he wants more military spending and an immigration deal to be finalized, Paul has expressed condemnation over the federal debt and Flake explained Thursday he was not “inclined” to give the budget a pass.

Negotiations leading up to the deadline faltered after Trump reportedly used crude language to describe some foreign countries during a bipartisan meeting in the Oval Office.

Trump allegedly described Haiti and other African nations as “sh*thole countries”, a claim made by several present at the meeting last week that the White House did not deny.

Image of Capitol Hill from CG.

LIVE | Eli Ridder, Jackson Parker, Matthew Geiger



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