Wednesday March 20, 2019
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US House Votes to Reopen Government, Rejects Wall Money by Donald Trump

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in

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Donald Trump, Prince, troops
Indian American Congressman asks Trump to end government shutdown. VOA

The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives has passed a legislative package aimed at ending the partial government shutdown without paying for President Donald Trump border wall, drawing a veto threat from the White House.

The first bill passed by the House on Thursday in a 239-192 vote was a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 8 that would not allocate any new wall spending. Five Republicans joined Democrats in approving the legislation.

Then, the House voted 241-190 to approve funds for six agencies, including Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Labour, Treasury and other agencies through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year, CNN reported.

The package will now go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is expected to be blocked. This will leave congressional Democrats and the administration at a stalemate, with the partial shutdown no closer to getting resolved.

It has affected hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have either been furloughed or have had to work without pay.

Trump has said he will reject any measure that does not provide $5 billion in funding for his wall on the Mexican border. Newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the proposed border wall as “waste of money”.

“We’re asking the President to open up government,” she told the Today show before the first session of the new House. “We have given the Republicans a chance to take yes for an answer.”

Trump, U.S.
Donald Trump. VOA

Democrats say that Trump was holding government funding hostage for the wall, which they feel was “unnecessary and ineffective”.

Congressional leaders from both parties were expected to meet the President for another round of budget talks at the White House on Friday.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will not back measures that Trump does not support and called the Democrats’ move a “total non-starter” and a “political sideshow”.

As of Thursday, 102 women serve in the House, an all-time high, including 36 newly-elected members and a record 43 women of colour.

The new members included the first Muslim congresswoman — Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who took her oath on the Quran — and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, who became the first person to wear a hijab in Congress.

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New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids were the first Native American congresswomen in the House, while New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress.

The White House had issued a veto threat against the legislative package ahead of the House vote.

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in. (IANS)

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Trump Accuses Social Media Platforms of Favoring his Opponents

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Alphabet's Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately comment.

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FILE - A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of favoring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans.

“But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA,” he said in a tweet. MAGA refers to Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Alphabet’s Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately comment.

The president and other conservatives have repeatedly complained that these big tech platforms treat them unfairly.

Trump has previously accused Twitter of restricting the visibility of prominent U.S. Republicans, without any providing evidence, and the avid social media user has promised to investigate the company’s practices.

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FILE – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Trump and other conservatives say Twitter targets fellow Republicans with a practice dubbed “shadow banning,” limiting the visibility of a Twitter user, including in the platform’s auto-populated dropdown search box.

Representative Devin Nunes of California has sued Twitter over the alleged practice, according to court documents.

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Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has said that algorithms have been changed to fix that issue.

The Justice Department held a meeting last fall between federal officials and state attorneys general to discuss allegations that conservative ideas are suppressed online, but so far no concrete action has been taken as a result. (VOA)