January 21, 2018 10:10:44

The Trump administration’s pledge to minimise the impact of a Government shutdown has faced an early test as a number of American landmarks closed their doors.

Key points:

  • Almost half of the 2 million civilian workers are barred from doing their jobs
  • Government shutdown causes popular American landmarks to close
  • The Defence Department and its combat operations in Afghanistan will continue

Republicans and Democrats appear no closer to settling their differences over immigration policy and striking an agreement to fund the Government and end the shutdown.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, symbols of American promise, were shut on Saturday (local time) due to what the National Park Service describes as “a lapse in appropriations”. That’s a bureaucratic term for a lack of money.

The New York sites are two of the world’s top tourist destinations.

In Philadelphia, crowds of tourists can’t get in to see the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

The Defence Department said its combat operations in Afghanistan and other military activities would continue, while federal law enforcement officers also would remain on duty.

The State Department warned that it could have problems processing passports.

Donald Trump’s administration also said it planned to keep national parks open with rangers and security guards on duty.

The parks were closed during the last shutdown in 2013, which upset many tourists and resulted in the loss of $625 million in visitor spending in areas around the parks and at the Smithsonian museums.

But without a quick deal, most day-to-day operations in the US Government will be disrupted.

Government employees will be put on temporary unpaid leave, and almost half of the 2 million civilian workers will be barred from doing their jobs, including many of the White House’s 1,700 workers.

If the shutdown lasts just days or even a couple of weeks, the robust stock market that Mr Trump has boasted about probably will emerge unscathed.

But economists say a longer impasse could rattle consumer and investor confidence, pulling stocks lower and dragging down the economy.

Trump an ‘unreliable negotiating partner’

The Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives were holding rare weekend sessions as they faced a political crisis that could have an impact on congressional elections in November.

Democrats insist that any spending bill include protections for some 700,000 younger immigrants facing deportation. Known as “Dreamers”, their right to remain in the US is due to be revoked in early March.

But Mr Trump has taken a tough stance on negotiations to end the shutdown, which coincided with the beginning of his second year in office.

“The President will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the Government,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sander.

Her message was echoed by Republicans in Congress, leading to speculation that Washington could be in for a prolonged battle.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer gave a stinging portrayal of Mr Trump as an unreliable negotiating partner, saying the two sides came close to an agreement several times only to have Mr Trump back out at the urging of anti-immigration conservatives.

“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” he said.

“It’s impossible to negotiate with a constantly moving target.”

The Government had been running on three consecutive temporary funding bills since the new fiscal year began in October.

Democrats claim they have been pleading with Republicans for months to approve the immigration measure as a stand-alone bill and were rebuffed.








First posted

January 21, 2018 08:58:38

Fonte: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-21/how-government-shutdown-is-impacting-the-us/9346742

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​Os textos, informações e opiniões publicados neste espaço são de total responsabilidade do(a) autor(a). Logo, não correspondem, necessariamente, ao ponto de vista do Central da Pauta.