Saturday, February 16, 2019 | ePaper
Government services closed as working week begins
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be unable to report for work on Monday, as the US Senate struggles to end a government shutdown.
Some will not be paid until the stalemate is resolved.
A rare Sunday session of the Senate yielded no agreement between Democrats and Republicans, with immigration one of the main sticking points. Essential services will still run but famous sites such as the Statue of Liberty have already been affected.
The monument was closed on Sunday but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would dip into state funds to pay the daily employment bill and reopen the popular tourist site.
It missed a deadline. At midnight on Friday, lawmakers failed to agree on a spending bill. The bill was not a plan for funding for the whole of 2018, but would have kept things running until the middle of next month.
Democrats refused to back a temporary deal until their concerns on immigration reform were dealt with.
Efforts to reach a compromise ahead of the working week failed late on Sunday.
A vote to end the shutdown was postponed until midday (17:00 GMT) on Monday, meaning many federal government offices will not open and the shutdown enters its third day.
Under Senate rules, the bill needs 60 votes in the 100-member chamber. The Republicans currently have 51 senators, so they need some Democratic support to pass a budget.
Democrats want President Trump to negotiate over immigration as part of a budget deal, but Republicans say no agreement is possible while federal government services are closed.
Republicans want funding for border security - including a proposed border wall with Mexico - and immigration reforms, as well as increased military spending.
On Saturday, Mr Trump said the "nuclear option" of a simple majority vote was necessary to end the impasse.