US shuts up shop over wall funds

CityPress - - News -

The US gov­ern­ment was par­tially shut down early yes­ter­day in a fierce dis­pute over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­mands that Congress as­sign $5 bil­lion (about R34 bil­lion) for a wall along the bor­der with Mex­ico.

Af­ter fail­ing to strike a bud­get deal on Fri­day, con­gres­sional lead­ers and the White House pledged to keep talk­ing through the week­end in search of a deal to end the shut­down ahead of the Christ­mas hol­i­day.

The im­passe came af­ter Trump threw a wrench into the works ear­lier in the week by re­fus­ing to agree to a short-term fund­ing deal cut by Demo­cratic and Re­pub­li­can se­na­tors be­cause it did not in­clude the $5 bil­lion for his bor­der wall.

The US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, where Re­pub­li­cans have a ma­jor­ity un­til Democrats take over on Jan­uary 3, then passed a bill that in­cluded the $5 bil­lion, but it ran aground in the Se­nate and the shut­down be­gan at mid­night on Fri­day.

Af­ter it be­came clear the House bill lacked the votes to pass, Se­nate lead­ers hud­dled with Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and other White House of­fi­cials to try to fig­ure out a path for­ward. They failed and leg­is­la­tors in both houses of Congress were sent home.

Trump tweeted: “We’re go­ing to have a shut­down. There’s noth­ing we can do about that be­cause we need the Democrats to give us their votes.”

For the shut­down to end, both the House and the Se­nate will have to ap­prove any deal ne­go­ti­ated be­tween Trump’s team and Re­pub­li­can and Demo­cratic lead­ers.

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