US government shutdown may extend into January


US government shutdown may extend into January

Patrick Martin

24 December 2018

All indications are that the partial shutdown of the US federal government, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, will last at least a week, and likely into the New Year. Some 800,000 federal workers are affected, either working without paychecks—if they are designated as “essential”—or furloughed without pay until Congress enacts a new spending authorization.

In general, police repression and mass surveillance are considered “essential” functions of the federal government, while anything to do with providing actual services to the public is considered “inessential.”

The shutdown was triggered by President Trump’s somersault on whether to sign a “continuing resolution” that would have funded nine federal departments and agencies through February 8. The Senate passed the resolution Wednesday by 100–0 after the White House indicated approval. After ferocious attacks by right-wing talk show hosts on the failure of the resolution to fund the proposed wall on the US-Mexico border, Trump abruptly reversed himself.

On Thursday, the lame duck session of the House of Representatives concluded with a 215–177 near-party line vote on a new version of the continuing resolution, with $5.7 billion for the wall, even more than the $5 billion Trump was demanding. That version of the resolution could not pass the Senate, narrowly controlled by the Republicans by a 51–49 margin, since ending debate and bringing the measure to a vote requires approval by 60 senators.

Both the House and Senate convened Saturday, after the partial federal shutdown had begun, but took no action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the next regular meeting of the Senate for Thursday,…

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