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US federal shutdown bites as employees miss first pay check

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US federal shutdown bites as employees miss first pay check

government shutdown paycheck missed
us government shutdown pay check
Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

Today, some 800,000 workers on the federal payroll in the United States will not receive paychecks for the first time since a partial government shutdown began 21 days ago.

A partisan dispute over $5 billion in funding for President Trump’s Mexican border wall prevented Congress from passing a necessary spending bill before a December 22 deadline, causing a partial “shutdown”. The Departments of Treasury, Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Justice have been impacted.

Negotiations have reached an impasse. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with top Democrats, calling it “a total waste of time”. Democrats have elaborate plans to individually fund each affected agency to “manually” end the shutdown. Meanwhile, President Trump is considering declaring a “national emergency” to secure the funds for its wall from the defence budget.

Time is on the side of Democrats. While Mr Trump’s core base remains supportive, some Republican lawmakers will begin to feel pressure from their constituents—particularly those hundreds of thousands of unpaid federal government employees. Such a deal may involve a quid pro quo on preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in exchange for the wall or funds broadly allocated to “border security”.

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