Democrats seek vote to end US government shutdown

A US Customs and Border protection vehicle passes by prototypes for US President Donald Trump
A US Customs and Border protection vehicle passes by prototypes for US President Donald Trump's much-desired border wall, as seen from behind the Mexico-US border fence in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on December 12, 2018  

Washington (AFP) - Democratic lawmakers unveiled plans to emerge out of the partial shutdown of the federal government by examining and voting on an appropriations bill as soon as they take control of the House of Representatives -- on Thursday.

But the bill's future appeared uncertain. The text does not include financing for the US-Mexican border wall sought by President Donald Trump to halt illegal immigration.

In a tweet taunting Democrats for their refusal to fund the border fence, the Republican president said: "The Democrats will probably submit a Bill, being cute as always, which gives everything away but gives NOTHING to Border Security, namely the Wall.

"You see, without the Wall there can be no Border Security - the Tech 'stuff' is just, by comparison, meaningless bells & whistles."

He also reiterated his claim -- so far unproven -- that Mexico was paying for the border wall through the new trade deal struck between all three North American countries (Canada, Mexico and the United States).

"I'm in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall," Trump tweeted.

Congress is in recess for the New Year's holiday but will reopen on Thursday, while Trump has stayed in the White House through the year-end festivities, shelving his annual vacation to his private Florida golf resort amid the impasse.

To retaliate over the Democrats' refusal to fund the wall, Trump is refusing to sign a wider spending package.

That has resulted in swaths of the federal government being shut down over the Christmas and New Year's holidays -- and for the foreseeable future until a deal is reached.

The standoff has turned into a test of strength between Trump and the Democrats, who will enter the new Congress in 2019 as the majority in the House of Representatives, after a decisive victory in the November midterm elections.

"No, we are not giving up. We have to have border security and the wall is a big part of border security, the biggest part," he told Fox News.

Trump says a wall is needed along the whole border to keep out migrants trying to enter the country illegally, casting them as an "invasion" force of dangerous criminals.

On Monday, he called the border "an 'Open Wound,' where drugs, criminals (including human traffickers) and illegals would pour into our Country."

- Distraction? -

Democrats say the wall idea -- one of the president's key election campaign platforms -- is a distraction from more complicated immigration problems and a tool for Trump to whip up support among his conservative base.

Democrats plan to put the ball back in Trump's court immediately on Thursday by passing a general spending bill that would allow the government to reopen fully, but would not include extra wall construction money.

They are proposing to pass administrative budgets that are not controversial lasting through September 30, while only financing until February 8 the thornier budget of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security.

The budget extension "would allow time for President Trump to reach agreement with Congress on border security," the Democrats explained.

Similar proposals were passed by the Republican-controlled Senate in recent days, until Trump suddenly withdrew his support. Those texts did not reach the House.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported," Democratic leaders said in a statement.

"Once the Senate passes this legislation and puts us on a path to reopening government, the president must come to his senses and immediately sign it into law."

The bill will go from the Democratic-controlled House to the Republican-held Senate and from there, it would need Trump's signature.

If he refused, still insisting on the wall funding, Democrats would then get ammunition to accuse him of being responsible for the government shutdown.

Lawmakers of the current Congress are expected to meet one last time on Wednesday, before the new session begins Thursday.

Senators are set to weigh from 4:00 pm (2100 GMT) a bill passed by the House that provides $5 billion in funding for the wall. But the text has no chance of passing the Senate, where a budgetary law requires 60 votes. Republicans only hold 51 seats.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he would now wait until he is certain to have a bill in hand that would pass both houses of Congress and receive Trump's support before submitting it to a vote, a possibility that now seems all too distant.


More Related News

Trump and GOP Allies Want Investigation of Mueller Probe's Roots
Trump and GOP Allies Want Investigation of Mueller Probe's Roots

Graham said at a news conference that Attorney General William Barr should appoint a new special counsel to examine why the U.S. government, under Barack Obama, decided to open an investigation into Russian election interference in 2016, and whether it was an excuse to spy on Trump's campaign. "Was it a ruse to get into the Trump campaign?" Graham said at the news conference.

Russia savors Mueller
Russia savors Mueller's report but expects tensions to stay

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia savored an "I told you so" moment Monday after special counsel Robert Mueller found no collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow. Government officials also dismissed the extensive evidence uncovered by Mueller of Russian cyber-meddling in the 2016

Some Americans cheer Mueller conclusion, others disappointed
Some Americans cheer Mueller conclusion, others disappointed

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The first glimpse into the special counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election did little to mend a gaping American political divide.

Mueller report: Read AG William Barr's summary of the Russia investigation
Mueller report: Read AG William Barr's summary of the Russia investigation

Congress got its first look at what special counsel Robert Mueller found after years investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign.

Trump claims 'total exoneration' from Mueller summary despite lack of answers on obstruction
Trump claims 'total exoneration' from Mueller summary despite lack of answers on obstruction

President Donald Trump claimed "complete and total exoneration" despite outstanding questions on obstruction.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.