Christmas-season gridlock descended on the United States like an unwelcomed present, as America’s elected leaders partially closed down the government after Democrats refused to meet President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion to start erecting a border wall with Mexico.
Their inability to compromise has resulted in more than 800,000 federal employees seeing their jobs disrupted, and more than half or roughly 420,000 workers who are deemed essential, forced to continue working during the shutdown without pay.
An additional 380,000 will be furloughed, which means that they will stay at home without pay. Those being furloughed include nearly everyone at NASA, 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service and more than half of the 1,700 people who work for the executive office of the president.
About eight in 10 employees of the National Park Service are at home and many parks are closed. The disruption has also affected many government operations as all federal buildings are closed thus depriving millions of Americans of federal services.
The impasse blocks money for nine of 15 the Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice. Whereas, some agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, were already funded and will operate as usual.
Independent agencies such as the U.S Postal Service have not been affected and Social Security checks will be mailed, troops will remain on duty, and food inspections will continue. Also still functioning is the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers.
Initial Republican reaction to the shutdown was muted. Among the few Republican lawmakers who issued statements were Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who expressed disappointment at the lack of a deal, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee who said that it is a complete failure of negotiations, a success for no one but a disaster for many. On the other hand, Democratic leaders, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York have stated that President Trump threw a temper tantrum and convinced House Republicans to push the nation into a destructive shutdown in the middle of the holiday season. This latest dysfunction in Washington does not bode well for bipartisan cooperation.
Shutdowns of the U.S government have become an increasingly frequent way of dealing with the deep-seated governance differences in the U.S Congress between Democrats and Republicans. Government shutdowns have the effect of not only disrupting government services, but have also increased the cost to the government due to lost labour. During a 2013 shutdown, Standard & Poor’s, the financial ratings agency stated that the action had taken $24 billion out of the economy and shaved off at least 0.6 percent of GDP growth in the fourth-quarter of that year.
The current shutdown is another troubling decision by President Trump, along with his defence of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince in relation to the murder of Washington Post Reporter Jamal Khashoggi, and his abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria which is of concern to U.S lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
For months, President Trump had savoured the prospect of a shutdown over the border wall. He boasted in an Oval Office meeting with democratic leaders that he would be proud to shut down the government for border security and would not blame democrats for it. But in an about face, he blamed Democrats. Polls have shown that the public opposed the wall and a shutdown over it. That certainly isn’t surprising.
Jan 21, 2019President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Wayne Forde challenged participants of the Concacaf facilitated two-day Club Marketing Workshop, which c oncluded yesterday, to strive to implement...
The Police Commissioner told a press conference that Charrandass Persaud is being investigated for bribery and if possible... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]