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  1. US Shutdown, 2nd in three weeks, 19th so far, ends: Why America was at halt once again

US Shutdown, 2nd in three weeks, 19th so far, ends: Why America was at halt once again

In just three weeks the United States has shut down again -- for the 19th time, perhaps briefly -- when a Senate Republican blocked a speedy vote on a Budget bill protesting over massive deficit spending by Republican-controlled Washington.

By: | Updated: February 9, 2018 4:43 PM
US Shutdown, 2nd in three weeks, 19th so far: Why America is at halt once again (Image: AP)

[Update: The US shutdown ended within hours as the House voted 240 to 186 to passed a crucial federal spending bill, extending government’s funding until March 23, and hiking limits by nearly $300 billion over the next two years.]

In just three weeks the United States has shut down again — for the 19th time, perhaps briefly — when a Senate Republican blocked a speedy vote on a Budget bill protesting over massive deficit spending by Republican-controlled Washington, agencies reported. GOP Senator Rand Paul blocked the vote Budget plans for the six-week spending of the government as he wanted to reverse the hike in the spendings.

“I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits,” AP quoted the Kentucky senator as saying. “Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can’t, in all honesty, look the other way.”

However, this shutdown is likely to be brief with minimal disruptions. On January 20, the US witnessed its 18th shutdown for three days as a divided house of Democrats and Republicans could not pass the Budget, sparring over protections to immigrants and border security.

Democrats wanted to reach an agreement over an immigration policy that protects immigrants who were brought to the US as kids known as the ‘dreamers’, while Republicans said they won’t fix the policy until the former did not support the border enhancement and border wall. The immigrant policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was introduced by former President Barack Obama, which was ordered to end by this March by President Donald Trump.

On January 23, however, the US shutdown ended after Republicans and Democrats voted for a temporary spending bill, which kept the government funded until yesterday. Democrats agreed to vote after they were promised a debate on the DACA policy. The spending bill was passed the Senate by 81-18 and the House of Representatives by 266-150.

The US Shutdown takes place when the US Congress comprised of Democrats and Republicans fails to pass funding for the government functioning. As a result of this, all government services, except for essential ones, halt and nearly 40% of the government workforce is put on unpaid furlough. Only services like law enforcement, immigration offices, the central bank, veterans’ hospitals and the military continue to work.

The last US shutdown took place in 2013 over Barack Obama’s flagship healthcare programme Obamacare, which continued for 17 days, furloughing nearly 800,000 workers. But it was the presidency of Bill Clinton when the longest US shutdown took place between December 5, 1995, and January 6, 1996, lasting for 33 days.

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