Donald Trump fulfills this Saturday his first year in the presidency of the United States forced to close non-essential operations of the government, by failing an agreement in the Senate to approve a budget extension for four weeks.
The last time the US federal government was forced to paralyze its activities was in October 2013, during the presidency of Barack Obama, when 800,000 public employees were licensed for 16 days.
The closure (“shutdown”) of federal activities took effect this Saturday at 05h00 GMT.
“Democrats are more concerned about illegal immigrants than with our big military or security on our dangerous southern border,” Trump said Saturday on Twitter.
“They could easily have reached an agreement but instead preferred to play the ‘shutdown’ politics,” the president wrote.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18</a> in order to power through mess!</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/954674157144477696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 20, 2018</a></blockquote>
In a speech to the plenary, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said that his caucus was open to “continue talking to resolve” the impasse.
“I do not think this shows us as a very responsible institution. Americans should expect more from us, “McConnell said, not hiding his irritation.
“I have trouble understanding (…) how my fellow Democrats can be proud” for having caused the government to close by blocking an agreement, McConnell said, for whom the opposition used a “ridiculous strategy”.
In response, the leader of the Democratic caucus, Chuck Schumer, said that “every American knows that Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate and that it is their job to keep the government open.”
Schummer asked the president to urgently convene a meeting in the White House with the leaders of the two parties to find a compromise.
In the midst of negotiations, conservative Senator John Kennedy posted on Twitter a message that accurately portrayed the widespread sentiment: “Our country was founded by geniuses, but is run by idiots.”
This scenario represents a tough political defeat for Trump, just on the day that exactly one year of his inauguration as president is fulfilled.
The Democratic opposition blocked the budget agreement by not including a solution for the almost 700,000 immigrants benefited by the DACA program, launched in 2012 by the government of then President Barack Obama, and which was not renewed by Trump.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders issued an angry official note accusing the Democrats of taking the Americans hostage.
“We are not going to negotiate the status of illegal immigrants while the Democrats, with their irresponsible demands, take citizens who follow the laws as hostages,” Sanders said.
Trump canceled a trip to Florida, where he was going to spend the weekend playing golf, to stay in Washington attending the crisis.
However, the White House reported that Trump kept on the agenda to participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and even announced that he intended to meet with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
The first effects of the paralysis of the federal government will be felt as of Monday.
In the Armed Forces, uniformed personnel should remain in their posts, as should the police, border guards, customs agents and flight operators throughout the country.
In the public administration, the operations of the White House, the State Department, the Congress and federal departments such as the Post Office will be maintained, although with fewer staff.
The offices of the public administration that will be closed include the Tax Office, the Social Security Administration and the Departments of Housing, Education, Commerce, and Labor, as well as the Office of Environmental Protection.
In addition, for the moment it becomes practically impossible to predict how long this situation will last, although the two parties have already begun the sterile game of distributing responsibilities for what happened.