Shutdown becomes the longest in US history

Shutdown becomes the longest in US history

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

Le 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 12 January, entering into its 22e day.

The record was beaten Friday night at midnight (6 hours Saturday Paris time), exceeding the 21 days of Shutdown during the Clinton era in 1995-1996.

No compromise could be found between the Republican president who claims 5,7 billions of dollars to build his anti-migrants wall on the border with Mexico and the Democrats, fiercely opposed to the project judged "Immoral"expensive and inefficient to fight illegal immigration.

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800 000 federal public servants without pay

"The easy way for me is to declare a national emergency"More "I'm not going to do it so fast because it's up to Congress to do it"said Friday the White House tenant at a roundtable on border security. "What we are not trying to do for now is the national emergency", he also said after days of speculation on 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 Friday, the 800 000 federal officials affected by the Shutdown did not receive their salary. Since the December 22, half of them judged "Non-essential"were placed on unpaid leave, while the other half was requisitioned. If most, paid fortnight, had received their check in late December, they will not touch their pay Friday.

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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 Shutdown completed. 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 who are 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"denounced Bennie Thompson, Democratic Chair of the Homeland Security Committee 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 2 000 government employees, who have expressed concern about the deterioration of their living conditions. Many private and public initiatives, such as free meals or job fairs for unemployed civil servants, are organized throughout the country.

To break the impasse in Congress, Donald Trump had been agitating for a few days the threat of a procedure of"National emergency" before, Friday, to seem to be backing up. 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 "A noticeable effect" on the world's largest economy, has also warned the boss of the US Central Bank, Jerome Powell.

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