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Trump’s Allies in The Senate Urge Him To Re-open The Government

Congress says all affected federal workers will get back pay as soon as the shutdown is over, but that brings little assurance to those who have immediate expenses

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USA, Government
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, walks to a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

One of President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the U.S. Senate is urging him to at least temporarily reopen the shuttered federal government and negotiate with Democrats on a border wall.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham told Fox News Sunday he would still support a presidential emergency declaration after giving talks another chance.

“I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off,” Graham said.

Graham echoed Trump by blaming the three-week long government shutdown on Democrats – specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who joked she would give Trump $1 for the border wall.

USA, Government
Vice President Mike Pence, center, looks on as House Minority Leader, now Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and President Donald Trump argue during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Dec. 11, 2018, in Washington. VOA

“How do you negotiate with the speaker of the house when she tells you even if you open up the government, we are not going to give you but $1 for the wall? So until that changes, there’s not much left except the national emergency approach,” Graham said on Fox.

Declaring a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexican border would allow Trump to spend the $5 billion he wants for a wall without congressional approval – a move Democrats would be expected to immediately challenge in court.

Democrats see waste of money

Most Democrats say they agree on the need for border security, but say there is no national security crisis and believe a wall would be an impractical waste of money.

“I do think if we reopen the government, if the president ends this shutdown crisis, we have folks who can negotiate a responsible, modern investment in technology that will actually make us safer,” Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said on Fox.

USA, Government
Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, gestures while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 28, 2018. VOA

Coons blames the impasse on border wall funding that led to the shutdown on Trump. He said the president had accepted a border security package that included money for a wall, then changed his mind.

“The only crisis here is one that’s been created by the president’s abrupt change in position at the end of last year in the last days of a Republican-controlled Congress,” Coons said. He added that Trump should test the Democrats’ willingness to compromise by the concessions he is willing to make clear to everyone.

Trump insists building a wall along the border will bring down the nation’s crime rate. He says illegal drugs are pouring into the United States from Mexico, even though security experts say most come through legal ports of entry.

He said he is in the White House waiting for Democrats to come and make a deal.

‘Having fun’

Trump chided 30 congressional Democrats for heading to a Hispanic Caucus retreat in Puerto Rico to watch a charity performance of the smash Broadway show “Hamilton.”

Trump mocked them for “having fun” while he remains in snowy Washington.

USA, Government
A woman takes a picture as floodlights from the U.S. side light up a border fence, topped with razor wire, Jan. 10, 2019, along the beach in Tijuana, Mexico. VOA

But the lawmakers reportedly bought their own tickets to the show. They will also meet Puerto Rican officials on the recovery from Hurricane Maria – the powerful storm that devastated the island in 2017. They have also brought donated medical supplies.

Meanwhile, 800,000 federal employees will begin their 24th day Monday either furloughed or working without pay.

Newspapers and TV newscasts across the country are filled with stories of government workers lying awake at night wondering how they are going to pay their bills.

Also Read: Broken Border’ More Dangerous Than ‘Shutdown’ : Donald Trump

Congress says all affected federal workers will get back pay as soon as the shutdown is over, but that brings little assurance to those who have immediate expenses and little or no savings in case of an emergency.

While Trump has said he “can relate” to their loss of income, he says a broken border is more damaging than a government shutdown. (VOA)

Next Story

US Preschoolers on Government Food Aid Grown Less Pudgy: Study

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016

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US, Preschoolers, Government
A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found. A photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in a Federal building in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). VOA

Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of declining obesity rates weren’t a fluke.

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016 — the latest data available — from 16% in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“It gives us more hope that this is a real change,” said Heidi Blanck, who heads obesity prevention at the CDC.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

US, Preschoolers, Government
Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy. VOA

The improvement affected youngsters ages 2 through 4 who receive food vouchers and other services in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. About 1 in 5 U.S. kids that age were enrolled in 2016.

An earlier report involving program participants the same age found at least small declines in obesity in 18 states between 2008 and 2011. That was the first decline after years of increases that later plateaued, and researchers weren’t sure if it was just a blip.

Improvements in food options in that program including adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains may have contributed to the back-to-back obesity declines, researchers said. Other data show obesity rates in 2016 were stable but similar, about 14 percent, for children aged 2 to 5 who were not enrolled in the program, Blanck noted.

While too many U.S. children are still too heavy, the findings should be celebrated, said Dr. William Dietz, a former CDC obesity expert. “The changes are meaningful and substantial.”

Also Read- Turkey: Prehistoric Site Bears Telltale Signs of Modern Woes

Dietz said program changes that cut the amount of juice allowed and switched from high-fat to low-fat milk likely had the biggest impact. He estimated that amounted to an average of 9,000 fewer monthly calories per child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends low-fat milk for children. It also suggests kids should limit juice intake and choose fresh fruits instead.

Further reducing U.S. childhood obesity will require broader changes — such as encouraging families and day care centers to routinely serve fruits, vegetables and whole grains; and employers to extend parental leave to make breastfeeding easier for new mothers, said Maureen Black, a child development and nutrition specialist at the University of Maryland.

Studies have shown breastfed infants are less likely than others to become obese later on. (VOA)