Saturday 15 December 2018

US government shutdown fears as deadline nears

Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Reuters
Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Reuters

Richard Cowen

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump at the White House yesterday to search for ways to avert a US government shutdown, but Mr Schumer said afterwards that disagreements remained as the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline to pass a funding bill.

Mr Trump invited Mr Schumer to the White House as a stopgap bill to fund the federal government through to February 16 appeared on the verge of collapse in the Senate, where Democratic votes are needed to pass it.

"We had a long and detailed meeting," Mr Schumer told reporters after the approximately 90-minute meeting.

"We discussed all of the major outstanding issues. We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements," he said.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved the stopgap spending measure late on Thursday, but it has been sidetracked in the Senate by a dispute over immigration.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday that he was ratcheting up the likelihood of a government shutdown from 30pc to a 50-50 possibility.

The shutdown would begin on the first anniversary of Trump's inauguration as president, and put hundreds of thousands of 'non-essential' federal workers on temporary unpaid leave.

Irish Independent

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