U.S. government shuts down over immigration impasse

AP Donald Trump Chuck Schumer

U.S. government shuts down over immigration impasse

"The military will still go to work; they will not get paid", Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters Friday morning.

Trump allegedly described Haiti and other African nations as "sh*thole countries", a claim made by several present at the meeting last week that the White House did not deny.

Nevertheless, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said earlier on Thursday that the House bill to fund the government was "very likely to be unacceptable to the Senate".

Given temporary legal status under a programme started by former President Barack Obama, these "Dreamers", as they are called, were brought into the USA, largely from Mexico and Central America, as children.

Democrats say the problem lies, in a big way, with the president's flip flopping on key issues. It would, though, mean furloughs for some federal employees - including some civilian defense workers.

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Liberals were in uproar when Trump a year ago ordered the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme, which shielded Dreamers from deportation, to end this March.

Democrats are demanding a budget deal should include protections for young immigrants known as "Dreamers" brought to United States as children, yet Republicans who control both chambers of the Congress have shown no signs of including a "Dreamers" protection in the bill.

Republicans control the Senate but with Senator John McCain undergoing cancer treatment at home in Arizona, they will need at least 10 Democrats to reach the 60 votes required to pass a spending Bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged the Democratic Senators to avoid a government shutdown. Either way, you're probably wondering, did the government shut down? "When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform".

With fewer than five hours until the government runs out of funding, House Republicans - who had already passed their short-term spending bill - were instructed to stay close to the Capitol.

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But it is unclear if there are enough votes to pass it in either the House or Senate.

Moments before the deadline, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to mitigate the fallout with a statement she shared on Twitter, calling the government's funding lapse the "Schumer Shutdown".

"Initially we talked about our military and the fact that our military can not be held hostage any longer by a broken Congress that continues to have 60 vote, cloture votes in the Senate, and hold our military men and women hostage".

The government of then President Barack Obama was last shut for more than two weeks in October 2013.

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