Saturday morning saw the beginning of a shutdown for the US federal government. The budget for its funding did not receive a sufficient number of votes before midnight on Friday, resulting in many offices being closed until the issue is resolved.
The official start of the fiscal year is October 1st and the funding bill is ideally supposed to be approved before then. However, in most cases this doesn’t actually happen, as talks continue well into the new year while the previous budget is extended temporarily.
In this case, the new budget wasn’t passed and both parties failed to agree on an extension.
Both parties are blaming the other with Republicans — and Trump at the helm — saying that the Democrats are putting politics above the American people. Meanwhile, Democrats argue that Trump rejected bipartisan compromise proposals.
Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
Some of the key points in the budget are:
- Increased funding for border security including the infamous wall;
- Anti-immigration reforms
- Increased defence and military
The Democrats countered by demanding protection for the “Dreamers”. The approx 700,000 people who entered the US as children. DACA is to be ended in March 2018, leaving those under its protection vulnerable to deportation.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 18, 2018
In an attempt to sway some Democrat votes, Republicans added a six year extension for a health insurance programme aimed at children in low income families. The Democrats want that extension made permanent.
So far, no progress has been announced but negotiations are expected to continue over the weekend with the White House budget chief hopeful that a solution will be found before Monday.
This is the first time that a shutdown has occurred while one party controls both Congress and the White House. The Republicans do not have enough of a majority to pass the bill without Democrat votes.
As this is a midterm election year, party loyalty is exceedingly important. Republicans are trying to label this the Schumer Shutdown after Chuck Schumer. The leading Senate Democrat Schumer and his fellow party members helped block the bill that would have kept the government open, along with the support of a few Republicans
Democrats will push the argument that they had a deal with the president on the bipartisan compromise only for him to back away during the meeting where he supposedly referred to several nations as “shithole countries”.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 20, 2018
Republicans will try to draw attention to the idea of Democrats putting immigrants ahead of the US military and health insurance for poor children.
During the last shutdown, Trump levelled the blame at Obama.
“The problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top,” he said. “The president is the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead”.
As he has a party planned in Florida to celebrate his first year as president, it is unknown whether he will take his own advice.