Tensions continue to rise as the longest government shutdown in US history moves into its 34th day, fueled by disagreements between President Trump and Congressional Democrats and Republicans over border wall funding.
This week marks the fifth in which an estimated 800,000 government workers, roughly 25% of the government workforce, will be furloughed or go without pay. For those workers, the likelihood of a second missed paycheck seems increasingly certain as solutions to the current budget crisis seem slow to develop in Washington as all parties involved are sticking to their guns.
Unsurprisingly, this shutdown has impacted far more than just these workers. Be it issues when it comes to imported perishable goods or hurting the FBI’s abilities in “investigations involving international terrorism, violent street gangs, and drug and sex traffickers,” the effects of this shutdown have been widespread.
Thanks to an atmosphere that started off as wholly antithetical to bipartisan cooperation, the situation at hand has become a largely over-politicized debate about border security, with efforts on both the Republican and Democrat sides falling short. In attempts to bridge the gap after only failed attempts thus far, President Trump came in with a proposal over the weekend that included a new deal for DACA DREAMers, which Democrats promptly refused.
Fortunately though, perhaps, two new Senate bills were promptly drafted and introduced Tuesday, with plans for a vote on Thursday. The first is a 1,301-page bill includes the $5.7 billion initially requested for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, as well as three years of protection for DACA DREAMers and other young immigrants that are illegally brought into the country. The second is a bill that will seek to extend select government funding until February 8th.
“The opportunity to end all this is staring us right in the face,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday. “All that needs to happen is for our Democratic friends to put the country ahead of politics, take yes for an answer and vote to put this standoff behind us.”
“With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well,” McConnell said. “The situation for furloughed employees isn’t getting any brighter and the crisis at the border isn’t improved by show votes. But the President’s plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly.”
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