Saturday, 19 October 2019

US govt shutdown enters 22nd day, breaking record

Scott Olson | Getty Images

WASHINGTON: As the clock struck midnight, the U.S. partial government shutdown over disputed congressional funds for President Donald Trump’s border wall entered its 22nd day on Saturday, marking the longest government closure in U.S. history.

There is still no compromise in sight, no deal, and no easy alternative. The president vowed to veto any spending bill that does not contain the 5.7 billion U.S. dollars he is demanding to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, while the Democratic lawmakers vowed to block any spending bill containing any kind of wall funds. Neither side seems willing to back down. “Trump is facing a Democratic majority in the House that has no interest in funding a wall, or anything like a wall that could give Trump a win,” said Christopher Galdieri, an assistant professor at Saint Anselm College.

“Trump has decided that it’s a wall or nothing, but he has yet to offer House Democrats anything in exchange for it,” Galdieri added. However, the president indicated on Friday that he will not declare a national emergency immediately so as to use the military to build the wall, a move which may well end the standoff but is widely expected to cause fierce legal fights.

“What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency,” the president told a roundtable discussion on border security at the White House. In a new CBS News/YouGov poll released late on Friday, Trump, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans all got lackluster marks for their handling of the government shutdown.

Only 35 percent of those polled approve of the president’s handling of the shutdown, and a majority disapprove. Only 33 percent approve of the Democrats, while relatively more people are unsure, according to the poll. More than eight in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of the shutdown, while seven in 10 Democrats approve of congressional Democrats’ handling of it.

Since the first day of his campaign for presidency, Trump has promised to build a wall along the massive U.S.-Mexico border. While many immigrants head to the United States for economic reasons, Trump has argued that drug smugglers and gangs are among those entering the United States illegally.

The Democrats accuse the president of using the shutdown and border crisis to score political points. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, made a joint statement earlier in the week accusing the president of “manufacturing a crisis” and calling on him to re-open the government.

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