The US federal government finds itself in a partial “shutdown” situation on Saturday after Congress failed to vote on a budget bill as a result of a disagreement over funds requested by Donald Trump for construction a wall on the border with Mexico.
The House of Representatives then the Senate adjourned Friday night their meeting as the deadline approaches at midnight (Saturday 5:00 GMT), without adopting text extending the funding of federal agencies.
The debate will resume Saturday at 17:00 GMT and may continue throughout the weekend to prevent the “shutdown” continues during the holiday season.
The stalemate came when Donald Trump refused to promulgate the bipartisan text adopted on Wednesday that did not provide the funds demanded by the US president for the construction of a wall on the Mexican border.
A text responding to Donald Trump’s wish was passed Thursday by the House of Representatives but was not voted on in the Senate for lack of sufficient support, despite last-minute talks between parliamentarians and Vice President Mike Pence to try to find an agreement.
Donald Trump sought to blame the Democrats, who sent Trump back to his statement last week. The US president said he would be “proud” to cause a “shutdown” in order to obtain funds for the construction of the wall, the most emblematic promise of his election campaign in 2016.
“We’re going to have a shutdown, we can not do it because the Democrats have to give us their votes,” Donald Trump said in a video posted on Friday night shortly before the deadline.
“YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE WALL”
Nearly a quarter of federal government agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture, had their funding closed at midnight on Friday (0500 GMT Saturday).
For other agencies, such as the Department of Defense, funding is assured until September 30 next.
This partial “shutdown” will affect the functioning of agencies that are not considered “essential” to the safety of citizens.
Approximately 380,000 federal employees are now on unpaid leave. More than 400,000 other employees, whose role is considered “essential”, will work without being paid until an agreement is reached.
To end the shutdown, both houses of Congress will agree on a budget law that will meet the expectations of both parties and those of Trump.
In a joint statement, Senate Democratic Party leader Chuck Schumer and his alter ego in the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced that if the blockage persists, the chamber that will be majority Democratic from January 3 will adopt a law to reopen closed administrations.
Republicans have the majority in the Senate but the support of 60 of the 100 senators is necessary for the adoption of the text, which implies that several elected Democrats must vote for.
“You will not have the wall today, or next week, or January 3 when Democrats take control of the House,” Chuck Schumer said Friday.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell did not follow Donald Trump’s suggestion to use the “nuclear option” to order a simple majority vote, which would have been a break with tradition of the Senate that McConnell has resisted so far.
The “shutdown” comes after a restless week in Washington, after the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, disagree with Donald Trump on the issue of Syria.
The decision of the head of the White House to withdraw US troops from Syria has provoked a wave of criticism within the Republican Party.
The United States had twice been in a “shutdown” situation at the beginning of the year. Discussions had already stumbled on issues related to immigration.