US government shutdown: Here’s how Senate ended the logjam saving thousands of state employees

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Published: January 23, 2018 10:41:44 AM

With Democrats accepting a compromise finally, the US Senate on Monday reached a deal to reopen the federal government and prevent the state agencies from shutting down forcing thousands of government employees to stay without salary at home.

US government shutdown, Donald TrumpUS government shutdown ends as Donald Trump signs funding bill.

With Democrats accepting a compromise finally, the US Senate on Monday reached a deal to reopen the federal government and prevent the state agencies from shutting down forcing thousands of government employees to stay without salary at home. Congress voted on Monday to end a three-day US government shutdown, approving the latest short-term funding bill as Democrats accepted promises from Republicans for a broad debate later on the future of young illegal immigrants, Reuters reported. The fourth temporary funding bill since October easily passed the Senate and the House of Representatives. President Donald Trump later in the evening signed the measure, largely a product of negotiations among Senate leaders, Reuters report said. Enactment by Trump of the bill allowed the government to reopen fully on Tuesday and keep the lights on through February 8, when the Republican-led Congress will have to revisit budget and immigration policy, two disparate issues that have become closely linked.

The House approved the funding bill by a vote of 266-150 just hours after it passed the Senate by a vote of 81-18. Trump’s attempts to negotiate an end to the shutdown with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer collapsed on Friday in recriminations and fingerpointing. The Republican president took a new swipe at Democrats as he celebrated the Senate’s pact.”I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses,” Trump said in a statement. “We will make a long term deal on immigration if and only if it’s good for the country.”

In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass and or the President fails to sign appropriations: legislation funding government operations and agencies. In this case, the current interpretation of the Antideficiency Act requires that the federal government begin a “shutdown” of the affected activities involving the furlough of non-essential personnel and curtailment of agency activities and services. Since 1976, when the current budget and appropriations process was enacted, there have been 19 gaps in budget funding, eight of which led to federal employees being furloughed. Prior to 1990, funding gaps did not always lead to government shutdowns, but since 1990 the practice has been to shutdown the government for all funding gaps. Shutdowns have also occurred at the state or territorial and local levels of government. The last shutdown, in October 2013, lasted more than two weeks and more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed. There is no official tally of how many would be off work this time.

Shutdown under Trump

Failing to meet the midnight deadline to renew funding, the US government after a period of five years shut down early morning on Saturday. The shutdown happened on the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President as Congress failed to overcome standoff over its spending and immigration. The US government was racing against time on Friday to keep the government floating and agencies open by passing a short-term bill. The White House blamed the Democrats for the shutdown and accused them of obstructing the passing of the bill. The White House said that Democrats were holding illegal immigrants important than the lawful citizens of United States as the 60 votes to overcome the procedural hurdle could not be achieved. Last time, Donald Trump blamed then President Barack Obama for the shutdown that was followed by the mounting pressure from the tea-party Republicans who sought to pass a must-pass bill and delay Obama’s bill to secure healthcare law in US.

What happens in a US government shutdown?

In shutdowns, non-essential government employees are released, or placed on temporary unpaid leave. Workers deemed essential, including those dealing with public safety and national security, keep working. Most of its effects will be felt on Monday when the employees will not be able to join work and will be forced to stay at home. It is estimated that more than 800,000 federal employees would be laid-off. The military will still go to work, the border will still be patrolled and the parks will be open. But in each of these cases, people will not be paid. The post office will be open, the Transportation Security Administration will be open, but again all of these people will be working for nothing as the funds have been stalled. US Postal Services would be working. Inside the White House, more than 1,000 of the 1,715 staff at the White House would be laid-off, the Trump administration. In 2013, US Internal Revenue Service had to lay-off 90 per cent of its staff. This time around $4 billion of tax refunds were delayed. Federal courts would operate only for three weeks in its normal state while healthcare, stock market would operate at the cost of several employees losing its job.

With inputs from Reuters

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