A deadline for the US Senate to pass a budget that would keep the US public sector working came and went on Friday at midnight. The failure meant that many thousands of “non-essential” government workers were facing a lay-off of indeterminate duration whilst law-makers wrangled over the budget and caveats attached to it. In the end, discussion on Sunday led to a vote being passed on Monday that gives the national finances a two-and a half week extension in which a longer-term solution can be found.
The problem with the original budget plan was that it provided no protection for so-called “Dreamers”; the 700000 people who had entered the USA illegally as children, but made it their home ever since. Under the Obama administration, these people had been given temporary registrations, but the Trump administration has been hostile to illegal immigrants and ended the policy. The Republican budget also includes additional spending on the military and funding for border security which includes measures for the notorious border wall planned for the US-Mexican border.
A tweet by President Trump shows little of the bipartisan respect that will be needed to avert a further, no doubt lengthier, shutdown after the 8th of February:
“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!”
For the budget to pass, it needs the backing of sixty of the one hundred members of the Senate. At the moment, the majority is Republican, with the party holding 51 seats to the Democrat’s 47. There are two independent senators, currently.
The current impasse was averted by a promise to discuss the immigration impasse when government re-opens. There was also a concession on the provision of a children’s health insurance programme.