US Senate schedules votes to end government shutdown

The US Senate will hold votes to reopen the government.

The US Senate will vote on Thursday to try to resolve the longest government shutdown in US history. The US government has been closed for over a month because of a standoff between US President, Donald Trump, and Democratic leaders in the US Congress like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, over funding a $5 billion US-Mexico border wall. Two competing bills face an uphill challenge in ending the long government impasse.

The Republican Senate bill

One Senate bill that will be voted on is favored by Republicans who support Trump. In that bill, there is funding for the border wall and three years of protection for ‘Dreamers’, undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. Trump had previously attempted to abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) , signed by former President, Barack Obama, that helped young undocumented immigrants. Now the president wants to include the extension of the measure as part of a compromise to end the government shutdown.

The Republican-led bill is unlikely to get Democratic support. Democrats like US Senator, Chuck Schumer, view the DACA compromise as a short-term solution, while the border wall would be a permanent and ineffective solution to undocumented immigration.

‘The president's proposal is just wrapping paper on the same partisan package and hostage taking tactics,’ said Schumer.

The Democratic Senate bill

Democrats want to reopen and fund the government through February 8 while negotiating on measures to reduce undocumented immigration. US House Majority Whip, James Clyburn, wants to compromise on border security funding by having a ‘smart wall’ with a mixture of technology and patrol agents at the US-Mexico boundary.

‘Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall,’ said Clyburn.

The bill was dismissed by Republicans like US Senator, Mitch McConnell, as ‘political combat with the president.’

What’s next for the US government?

The US government shutdown has impacted 800,000 federal workers who have gone without two consecutive paychecks. Though Wall Street has mostly withstood the turmoil, the longer that the impasse drags on, the more worried the US stock market becomes. Investors and government employees are both hoping this government gridlock will be resolved soon.

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