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About the first year of Trump led US government
BdChronicle Special Feature:
President Donald Trump marked the first anniversary of his inauguration yesterday with his government in shutdown, accusing Democrats of taking Americans hostage with their demands and saying they "could have easily made a deal."
As the clock struck midnight, in the absence of an agreed spending plan, federal services began to come to a halt or be scaled back.
Essential services and military activity will continue but many public sector workers will be sent home without wages and even serving soldiers will not be paid until a deal is reached to reopen the US government.
"Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border," Trump wrote in an early morning tweet.
"They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMore RepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!"
"This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present," he added.
A deal had appeared likely on Friday afternoon, when Trump seemed to be close to an agreement with Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer on a measure to prevent the expulsion of undocumented migrants who arrived in the country as children.
But no such compromise was in the language that reached Congress for a stop-gap motion to keep the government open for four more weeks while a final arrangement is discussed -- and Republicans failed to win enough Democratic support to bring it to a vote.
The White House lashed out at Schumer, blaming him for the shutdown and doubling down: Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declared that he would never negotiate an immigration deal until Congress agrees to resume normal government spending.
Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell echoed the White House's language, but Schumer fought back, blaming Trump for leading him to believe a deal was possible on the immigration dispute but then failing to bring his own party along.
"Every American knows the Republican Party controls White House, the Senate, the House -- it is their job to keep the government open. It is their job to work with us to move forward," Schumer told the Senate, after the 50 to 49 vote.
Schumer added he had also offered to discuss the possibility of building a wall along the border with Mexico, a key campaign pledge made by Trump that is anathema to many Democrats.
"Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal," he said.
Democrats accused Republicans of poisoning chances of a deal and pandering to Trump's populist base by refusing to fund a program that protects 700,000 "Dreamers" -- undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children -- from deportation.
The president shelved plans to fly to Florida to celebrate at his Mar-a-Lago estate the first anniversary of his inauguration to remain in Washington to ride out the storm.
Republicans have a tenuous one-seat majority in the Senate but would have needed to lure some Democrats to their side to get a 60 vote supermajority to bring the motion forward. They fell ten votes short.
The measure brought to Congress would have extended federal funding until February 16 and reauthorised for six years a health insurance program for poor children -- a long-time Democratic objective.
But it would have cut the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, that affects Dreamers.
White House officials insisted there was no urgency to fix DACA, which expires March 5.
There have been four government shutdowns since 1990. In the last one in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave.
International ratings agency Fitch said a partial shutdown was unlikely to affect America's AAA/stable rating for US sovereign debt.
Negotiations with the White House on a bipartisan compromise on DACA blew up last week after Trump reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as "shithole countries."
The Senate was set to reconvene at noon yesterday, with McConnell seeking a new stop-gap measure to fund the government till February 8.
The following is a rundown of who is and isn't affected in a government shutdown:
DEFENSE, SECURITY AND BORDERS
The 1.5 million uniformed members of the US military, mostly in the Defense Department but also 40,000 with the Department of Homeland Security, will remain at work.
But a large number of civilians in both departments, including about three-fourths of the roughly 740,000 civilians who work for the Pentagon, will stay home.
Officials of the Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services will remain on the job checking and processing people entering the country by land, sea and air.
KEY GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
The White House, Congress, federal courts and the Veterans Administration will all continue to operate. The US Postal Service will continue to deliver the mail.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees air traffic control, will remain at work, and airports will remain open for travellers.
PARKS AND MUSEUMS
According to tentative plans, national parks and museums will remain open, but some public employees at the parks could be furloughed while private contractors, who supply food and other services, will maintain operations.
Disease monitoring and prevention will slow. About 61 percent of the staff of the Centers for Disease Control will be furloughed, according to The Washington Post, and much of the research-focused National Institutes of Health will be shuttered.
OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES
Other agencies will largely shut down, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Commerce Department, the Labor Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
That means people and businesses will not get documents and permissions processed, contractors will have difficulty moving ahead on their projects, and disaster relief will slow.