Tuesday February 19, 2019
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The Great U.S. Government Shutdown

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.

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U.S., Shutdown
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen beyond a chain fence during the partial government shutdown in Washington, Jan. 8, 2019. VOA

By Vishvi Gupta

The partial shutdown of the Government of the United States has now entered Day 31. With as many as 800,000 federal employees furloughed, the entire nation remains in a turmoil due to the longest government shutdown in the history of United States.

The shutdown which started on December 22 of 2018, due to the disagreement of United States Congress and the President Of United States on ‘Border Security Funding’  has followed us well into 2019 and still has bleak chances of ending.

President Donald Trump remains undeterred in his conquest to get the funding for wall, no matter who pays for it, it seems. In a tweet and several different speeches, during the presidential election race of 2016, the then presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that “Mexico will pay for the wall”. However, he now demands almost $5Bn from the taxpayers of the country.

The country’s senate remains at an impasse and the only ones affected? The people.

Thousands of federal employees joined hands in protests and social media to share their stories of how exactly the shutdown is affecting them. Many employees have had to set up Gofundme donation websites to get by or to meet their basic needs. The shutdown led the hastag, ‘#ShutdownStories’ trend on twitter. Even students who rely on free or reduced fee meals at school are impacted. The lunch menus at schools are being revised so as to conserve food and funding.

As the shutdown drags on, it sees many businesses also take a hit. Mohammad Badah, a local falafel street vendors who saw a steep fall in his sales said,” Usually I do in this area, like 60-70 customers, so far I did like 19 customers today.” Badah can now afford to operate only one of his two trucks.

Also Read: U.S. Senate Stays Divided Over Trump’s Immigration Deal

Meanwhile, there is no budging on the democratic or republican side. President Donald Trump proposed a deal to the democrats in which he backs away from a simple demand for border funding and now offers a 3 year extension of the program for refugees and immigrants who came to America illegally as minors, also called ‘Dreamers.’ Democrats, however rejected this deal saying that Donald Trump’s proposal is “unacceptable” and said the president’s proposal was “not a good-faith effort.”

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.

Next Story

US States Sue Trump’s Administration for Obtaining Border Wall Funds

"Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

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Trump, US, Mexico border wall
FILE - Border Patrol agent Vincent Pirro looks on near a border wall that separates the cities of Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, Feb. 5, 2019, in San Diego, California. VOA

A coalition of 16 U.S. states led by California sued President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to obtain funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California came just days after Trump invoked emergency powers on Friday after Congress declined to fulfill his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall that was his signature 2016 campaign promise. His move aims to let him spend money appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

“Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Mexico border wall, US
FILE – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Feb. 15, 2019, in Sacramento, California. VOA

“We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theater,” added Becerra, a Democrat.

Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s move on Friday, saying it violates the Constitution and would infringe on their property rights.

The legal challenges could slow down Trump’s efforts to build the wall, which he says is needed to check illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but will likely end up at the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.

In a budget deal passed by Congress to avert a second government shutdown, nearly $1.4 billion was allocated toward border fencing. Trump’s emergency order would give him an additional $6.7 billion beyond what lawmakers authorized.

In television interviews on Sunday and Monday, Becerra said the lawsuit would use Trump’s own words against him as evidence there is no national emergency to declare.

ALSO READ: US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

Earlier, Trump had said he knew that he did not need to declare an emergency to build the wall, a comment that could now undercut the government’s legal argument.

“Presidents don’t go in and claim declarations of emergency for the purposes of raiding accounts because they weren’t able to get Congress to fund items,” Becerra said on MSNBC. (VOA)