US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on January 14, 2018. (Pic: Nicholas Kamm)
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on January 14, 2018. (Pic: Nicholas Kamm)

Deal reached to lift US shutdown

THE US government is on the brink of reopening after two and a half days of chaos in Washington DC.

Democrats have agreed to another short-term budget deal that would keep the government running until February 8 after Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnell vowed to consider legislation to protect illegal immigrants who came to the country as children.

Immigration, particularly the fate of these 700,000 young people known as Dreamers, led to the temporary closure of the government on Friday night.

US politicians worked through the weekend to reach a deal, as each side blamed the other for the shutdown.

Senator McConnell said "the American people didn't understand" why Democrats shut down the government over "illegal immigrants".

A Bill to end the shutdown passed the Senate 81-18 on Monday afternoon. It will now be voted on in the House before making its way to the President's desk. If all goes to plan, government operations will be back up and running by Tuesday.

The shutdown robbed Donald Trump of a chance to celebrate his first anniversary in office. He was forced to cancel a planned fundraiser in Florida to mark 12 months since his inauguration and instead stayed in Washington as political finger-pointing intensified.

The closure forced hundreds of thousands of government employees to stay home without pay - and Mr Trump accused the Democrats of putting the US military in jeopardy.

 

However, Mr Trump exaggerated the effect the shutdown would have on the military. America's 1.3 million uniformed troops remained on duty during the shutdown and all national security operations continued.

The senior Democrat in the senate, Chuck Schumer, tried to blame the mess on Mr Trump.

"President Trump's unwillingness to compromise caused the Trump shutdown," he told the senate on Monday, saying that the White House refused to engage with him after an initial meeting on Friday.

"The great deal making president sat on the sidelines."

While the deal to end the shutdown is likely to take effect within hours, it is unclear whether US politicians will find themselves in the same predicament in three weeks when the stopgap agreement expires.

While Mr Trump has indicated a willingness to protect the Dreamers, others within the Republican party believe such a deal would provide unacceptable amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Forcing a shutdown was a politically risky move for the Democrats and it's yet to be seen which side of politics voters will blame for the chaos.


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