US government shuts down after Senate rejects spending bill

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January 20, 2018

The United States government officially shutdown on Saturday for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running, marking a chaotic end to Donald Trump’s first year as president.

The shutdown began at 12:01 am (local time) after a few Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the crucial measure which would have provided short-term funding for the Pentagon and other federal agencies.

Trump blamed the Democrats for the shutdown which comes exactly a year after he was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

“Dems want a shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the tax cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy,” he said.

Despite last minute bipartisan meetings, the bill to fund the government until February 16 did not receive the required 60 votes. The Senate voted 50-48 to block the stopgap funding measure.

The short-term spending bill was passed by the House on Thursday.

This is part of the Democrats strategy to force US President Trump and the Republicans to negotiate with them on illegal immigrants who are facing deportation.

The effect of the shutdown would be felt most from Monday when the federal government employees would not be able to join for their work and be forced to stay at home without pay.

It is estimated that more than 800,000 federal employees would be furloughed. Only the essential services would be open.

The last time that a government shutdown happened was in 2013.

Earlier in the day, the Office of Management of Budget said it was preparing for “what we’re calling the Schumer Shutdown”.

The Director of Office of Management of Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters that efforts were being made to have the government shutdown less impactful than it was in 2013.

“We’re going to manage the shutdown differently. We are not going to weaponise it. We’re not going to try and hurt people, especially people having to work for this federal government. But we still need Congress to appropriate the funds,” he said.(Agencies)

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