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US workers home without pay as shutdown impasse drags on

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Trump had encouraged the Senate’s Republican leaders to invoke the “nuclear option” — a procedural maneuver to change the chamber’s rules to allow passage of a budget by a simple majority of 51 votes to end the shutdown.

Washington : Hundreds of thousands of US federal employees were staying home without pay on Monday after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on ending a government shutdown before the start of the working week.

Although leaders of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and the opposition Democrats said progress had been made in a weekend of talks, they pushed back a scheduled late-night vote to noon (2230 IST) on Monday.


The impasse, the first of its kind since 2013, had already cast a huge shadow over the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration as president on Saturday, reports AFP. After special weekend sessions of Congress which had seen bitter recriminations traded by both parties, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to address Democrat concerns over key issues, such as immigration reform in a speech to the chamber late on Sunday. The Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer responded by saying he was “happy to continue my discussion with the majority leader about reopening the government” but added that the parties were “yet to reach an agreement on a path forward.”

McConnell then called for Congress to reconvene for another vote on a stop-gap funding measure at noon, a proposal which was nodded through.

Hopes that the shutdown, which began at midnight Friday, could be limited to the weekend were raised Sunday when a bipartisan group huddled for hours trying to end the standoff, but they ultimately failed to resolve all their differences , In remarks early on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders accused the Democrats of “playing games”.

“The president’s focus is making sure we get the government reopened. It’s outrageous that Democrats are holding our national security hostage,” she told television network ABC.       Over the weekend Trump had encouraged the Senate’s Republican leaders to invoke the “nuclear option” — a procedural maneuver to change the chamber’s rules to allow passage of a budget by a simple majority of 51 votes to end the shutdown.

But Senate leaders have been wary of such a move in the past, as it could come back to haunt them the next time the other party holds a majority. At the heart of the dispute is the issue of undocumented immigration.

Democrats have accused Republicans of poisoning chances of a deal and pandering to Trump’s populist base by refusing to back a program that protects an estimated 700,000 “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants who arrived as children — from deportation.

US FDA sends 42% of staff on leave

New Delhi : The US federal government’s shutdown from Saturday has forced the US Food and Drug Administration to send 42% of its staff on leave of absence, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Twitter late Sunday. “I recognise the consequences of a government shutdown to FDA employees and their families. To my colleagues: You have my personal commitment that FDA leadership will do our best to mitigate the impacts of the disruptions and any burdens to you and your families,” the commissioner said. The US federal government underwent a partial shutdown midnight Friday after the Republican and Democratic Parties failed to break deadlock on increasing the funding ceiling of the government on Friday. Gottlieb said 52% of the regulator’s staff will continue to work with critical monitoring tasks, such as drug recalls, review of food and drug imports to the US and surveillance of adverse events related to drugs, medical equipment and other medical products functioning as usual.

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