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US government shutdown: Peaceful solution a far cry

24 Jan 2019, 04:29 ( 7 Months ago)

By Saiful Huda
File Photo Xinhua.

The U.S. government shutdown arising from the conflict between President Donald Trump and the US Congress over building a wall along the US-Mexico border has passed 35 days and there is still no significant sign of any compromise.

The U.S. experiences such shutdowns when nonessential government offices close due to failure in getting all the federal expenditure bills approved by the Congress. The longest shutdown before this one was of 21 days in 1995-96.

This time the conflict is between Republican President Donald Trump and the Democrat Party dominated Congress over spending $5.7 billion for building concrete wall along the 1933 miles US-Mexico border that stretches across four states from western California to eastern Texas.

About 1279 miles of the border remains unfenced and it was President Trump’s election pledge to build the wall to check illegal immigrants and smuggling of drugs into the United States.

The only little ease in the stance was when President Donald Trump through a press conference last Saturday offered a package that included restoration for three years the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the immigration law to end the temporary shutdown. The Congress also made the offer of adding $1 billion in the budget for border spending.

Apart from these offers which gave no solution, both the sides have remained almost unmoved from their initial position. Analysts believe that if the President gives in, he has the chance of losing a large section of his voters while the Democrats are politically on the upper hand in the Congress and finds no justification in spending so much money in building structures along the border.

Analysts believe that this shutdown, the longest in the American history, will have unprecedented affects particularly in the economy which cannot be predicted now.

President Donald Trump has said that the shutdown may continue for months, or even a year or even longer. Stock market investors have started worrying.

Following the shut down, nearly 800,000 federal employees including many in the military, diplomatic corps, home security and airport staff are not getting paid. There are reports that some federal employees have taken up part-time jobs like Uber driving and delivery work to support their respective families. 

While President Trump vows to secure the border against illegal immigrants, smuggling and terrorism, the Democrats are accusing him of matrializing Russian President Putin’s plan to create a chaos.

So far, the balance in the U.S. government system was one of the best, but the on-going shutdown and the rigidity of the two sides have made political scientists ponder over the system. We have to wait to see the consequences of this long impasse.