Shutdown of the US government becomes the longest in their history

This partial halt in the operation of the federal authorities since December 22 exceeds the previous record of 21 days reached in 1996 under the Clinton presidency.


The entrance to a campsite is locked at Joshua Tree National Park in California on January 4th. MARIO TAMA / AFP

The "shutdown" that paralyzes some of the federal administrations of the US government has become the longest in the history of the United States on the night of Friday 11 to Saturday, January 12, entering its 22nd day.

The record was broken Friday night at midnight (6 am Saturday Paris time), exceeding the 21 days of "shutdown" during the Clinton era in 1995-1996.

The suspense was thin, Donald Trump having assured Friday not to want to declare "so quickly" the national emergency procedure and the Senate has suspended its session until Monday.

No compromise could be found between the Republican president who calls for $ 5.7 billion to build his wall anti-migrants on the border with Mexico and the Democrats, fiercely opposed to the project deemed "immoral" , expensive and ineffective for fight against illegal immigration.

Read also Donald Trump trapped in his own obsession with "the wall"

800,000 federal public servants without pay

"The easy way for me is to declare a national emergency , " but "I'm not going to do it so quickly because it's up to Congress to do it," the White House tenant said on Friday. round table on border security. "What we are not trying to do for the moment is the national emergency ," he also said after days of speculation about the use of such a procedure, conferring exceptional powers on the president. To use such a prerogative would certainly have plunged the country into a politico-judicial storm.

In Congress, no compromise on the horizon and the Senate suspended its meeting Friday early afternoon. He will not meet again until Monday.

The consequences are very real. For the first time on Friday, the 800,000 federal public servants affected by the "shutdown" will not receive their salary. Since December 22, half of them deemed "non-essential" , have been placed on unpaid leave, while the other half has been requisitioned. If most, paid fortnight, had received their check in late December, they will not touch their pay Friday, however.

Read also In the United States, the shutdown begins to feel its negative effects

The House of Representatives, however, overwhelmingly passed a law passed by the Senate on Friday, guaranteeing federal employees that they will be paid retroactively once the shutdown is over. It is now up to the president to promulgate it. This type of measure is common in the United States when the country goes through such budget impasses. But it does not concern the millions of contract workers also affected.

Several key ministries, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), justice or transport, are affected by the shutdown . "More than 200,000 DHS employees - responsible for protecting our airspace, our rivers and our borders - will not be paid (immediately) while they work," said Bennie Thompson, Democrat President of the United States. the Committee for Internal Security in the House of Representatives.

"National emergency"

On Thursday, major air transport unions - airline pilots, aircrew, air traffic controllers - denounced a worsening situation, pointing to increased risks to the country's security. A terminal at Miami International Airport will be closed intermittently from Saturday to Monday due to lack of personnel.

A protest in Washington has also gathered according to the unions more than 2,000 government employees, who have expressed concern about the deterioration of their living conditions. Many private or public initiatives, such as free meals or job fairs for unemployed civil servants, are organized throughout the country.

To break the deadlock in Congress, Donald Trump had been agitating for a few days the threat of a procedure of "national emergency" before Friday to seem to back down. According to several American media reports, the White House plans to redirect emergency aid funds for various areas ravaged by natural disasters, such as Puerto Rico, to fund the construction of a border fence.

Prolonged paralysis by the federal government would " have a noticeable effect" on the world's largest economy, warned US Central Bank chief Jerome Powell.

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REF: https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/01/12/le-shutdown-du-gouvernement-des-etats-unis-devient-le-plus-long-de-leur-histoire_5408158_3210.html

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