Thursday March 21, 2019
Home Lead Story U.S. Passes A...

U.S. Passes A Bill Promising Federal Workers’ Their Pay After The U.S. Shutdown Ends

Trump is blaming the government shutdown and impasse on wall funding on the Democrats

0
//
U.S., Shutdown
A U.S. Internal Revenue Services employee holds signs in front of the federal building at a rally against the U.S. federal government shutdown, in Ogden, Utah, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

The U.S. Senate on Thursday night unanimously passed a bill guaranteeing federal workers they will be paid everything they are owed when the government shutdown ends.

While it sounds like good news, it will not immediately help more than 800,000 workers who this week are missing their first payday since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

When the shutdown enters its fourth week Saturday morning, it will set the record for the longest in U.S. history and there are no signs a negotiated settlement is in sight.

U.S. Shutdown

Democrats are refusing to give President Donald Trump more than $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. Without an agreement on funding a border wall, Senate Republicans and the president are refusing to approve funding for eight federal departments, leading to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government.

In his continued crusade to convince Congress and the American people that a wall is needed between Mexico and the United States, the White House says Trump will hold a roundtable discussion on border security and safe communities Friday afternoon with state, local and community leaders.

Trump says a wall is needed to stop illegal immigration and the drugs and crime he says come with it.

U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media as he stands with U.S. Border Patrol agents on the banks of the Rio Grande River during his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

Trump visits border

Trump visited the border town of McAllen, Texas, Thursday, saying he may declare a national emergency.

“We’re either going to have a win, make a compromise, because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency,” he said.

A declaration would allow Trump to spend the money without congressional approval. It would likely bring an immediate court challenge from Democrats who say there is no emergency at the border and that the president would be overstepping his constitutional authority.

Trump, U.S.
President Donald Trump tours the U.S. border with Mexico at the Rio Grande on the southern border in McAllen, Texas, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

While in McAllen, Trump visited a Border Patrol station and inspected a table heaped with illegal drugs and weapons.

He was told most of the contraband was seized at legal points of entry — not the remote border crossings the president says need to be sealed off.

The president also met with the families of those killed by illegal immigrants.

Trump said a “wall works.” He made the promise of a wall the centerpiece of his 2016 campaign and insisted Mexico will pay for it.

Who pays for the wall?

The president said Thursday, “I never meant they’re going to write out a check, I said they’re going to pay for it. They are.”

U.S.

Although, this contradicted statements he made during the campaign, Trump has more recently said the benefits from a renegotiated North American trade agreement would lead to Mexico paying for it.

Democrats support more security

Most Democrats say there is a need for more border security but that a wall is impractical, wasteful and immoral. Even some conservatives are beginning to wonder whether it’s an issue that makes it worth shutting down the government.

Trump is blaming the government shutdown and impasse on wall funding on the DemocratsTrump is blaming the government shutdown and impasse on wall funding on the Democrats, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Also Read: U.S. Shutdown Can Lead to More Flight Delays

He says they are oblivious to national security and will not compromise.

Pelosi and Schumer say the president is obsessed by the wall and has manufactured a crisis, in part, to distract the country from his other problems.

They have proposed reopening the government and separating the wall issue for separate negotiations. (VOA)

Next Story

U.S. President Donald Trump Suggests, Brazil Should be Able To Join The North Atlantic Treaty Alliance

Until now, Brazilian diplomacy was a zero-sum kind of relationship, not aligned with U.S. interests and "sort of hostile in certain ways, at least at the bureaucratic level"

0
U.S.
President Donald Trump greets Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 19, 2019. VOA

The leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s two largest economies are pledging closer trade ties and enhanced military cooperation, with U.S. President Donald Trump even suggesting Brazil should be able to join the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).

Trump said for that to happen, however, he would “have to talk to a lot of people.”

The U.S. president, at a joint news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, also pledged American support for Brazil to join the 36-member Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD), which includes most of the highly-developed economies.

Bolsonaro, speaking in Portuguese, said his visit begins a new chapter of cooperation between Brazil and the United States, adding that with his recent election, “Brazil has a president who is not anti-American, which is unprecedented in recent decades.”

U.S.
“All options are open,” Trump reiterated when asked by a reporter in the White House Rose Garden if military intervention in Venezuela by the United States is possible. VOA

The retired military officer is known as the “Trump of the Tropics” for his far-right agenda of cracking down on crime and corruption, and nostalgia for Brazil’s era of military dictatorship.

The two leaders, who met for the first time Tuesday, also discussed their mutual support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by most Western countries, including the United States and Brazil.

“All options are open,” Trump reiterated when asked by a reporter in the White House Rose Garden if military intervention in Venezuela by the United States is possible.

Trump noted that Washington has yet to apply really tough sanctions on Caracas, where Nicolas Maduro — who the U.S. president called “Cuba’s puppet” — remains in power with the backing of Venezuela’s military.

In oil-rich Venezuela there is no food, water or air-conditioning, according to Trump, while Bolsonaro said “people are starving to death” there.

“We need to put an end to this,” Bolsonaro added.

Space launches

Just ahead of the meeting between the two leaders, the United States and Brazil signed an agreement to support American space launches from Brazil. The State Department says the pact will ensure the proper handling of sensitive U.S. technology consistent with U.S. nonproliferation policy, the Missile Technology Control, and U.S. export control laws and regulations.

The two leaders “agreed to take the steps necessary to enable Brazil to participate in the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Global Entry Program,” according to a joint statement issued following the news conference.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Oval Office of the White House, March 19, 2019, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the Oval Office of the White House, March 19, 2019, in Washington. VOA

‘Common ground’

The two countries have never had particularly close relations, with Brazil traditionally wary of American influence in Latin America. But now their two leaders find themselves in sync on concerns about the Maduro regime in Venezuela, Cuba’s involvement in that country, and the threat from China’s rising influence on domestic politics in South and Central America.

Also Read: Here’s Why Some Young Adults Engage in Unsafe Sex

Until now, Brazilian diplomacy was a zero-sum kind of relationship, not aligned with U.S. interests and “sort of hostile in certain ways, at least at the bureaucratic level,” former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega told VOA.

“If we can find common ground with them on some key specific initiatives,” the U.S. relationship with Brazil and South America, as a whole, can be realigned, according to Noriega, an American Enterprise Institute visiting fellow.(VOA)