WASHINGTON – The United States government is bordering on a partial shutdown from being left without funds if Senate Democrats and Republicans cannot agree to approve the government budget before midnight Friday.
The suspension of government funding would hit more than 800,000 federal employees, who would be left without employment or pay every day of the shutdown, which is to say, until members of Congress approve a new budget.
Despite the suspension of work for hundreds of thousands of employees, the paralyzation would affect national parks, museums and even private firms contracted by the government, none of which will receive any funding as long as the administrative shutdown lasts.
With time running out in a few hours, Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell insisted Friday to Democrats that an immigration agreement be negotiated separately, in order to reach a permanent solution to the current illegal status of the undocumented youths known as Dreamers.
Faced with the Republican leadership’s refusal to even consider a vote on the bipartisan agreement reached last week by the so-called Gang of Six, made up of three Republican and three Democratic senators, the opposition appears decided to block funding for the budget.
As EFE learned from sources in the upper house, Democrats have enough votes to block the stop-gap financing proposal that was passed this Thursday by the lower house, and which they consider unacceptable.
That proposal would only finance the government through Feb. 16, though it contains a provision demanded by Democrats, which is to provide six-years’ financing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Democratic senators have stepped up the pressure on Republicans and the White House to approve a bipartisan immigration accord together with the proposals that include a path to citizenship for the 800,000 Dreamers, whose shield from deportation known as DACA expires in March by order of Trump.
Republicans want to avoid putting the government temporarily out of business, especially since it would coincide with Trump’s first anniversary in the White House. However, the last time such a shutdown occurred was in 2013, when Republicans were the ones who forced the government to close for more than two weeks in an attempt to repeal the healthcare legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.