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WASHINGTON | president Donald Trump has assured on Saturday that the “shutdown”, which partially paralyzed for the last three weeks the federal government of the United States, and that became the longest in the history of the country, could be “set in 15 minutes”.
The record was broken Friday at midnight (5 am GMT Saturday), surpassing the 21 days of “shutdown” during the era of Bill Clinton in 1995-1996.
No compromise could be reached between the republican president, which calls for $ 5.7 billion dollars to build a wall of anti-migrants at the border with Mexico, and democrats fiercely opposed to the project, deemed “immoral”, which is both expensive and ineffective in the fight against illegal immigration.
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Saturday morning, Donald Trump stepped up the tweets calling the opposition democratic party to “return to Washington” to put an end to what he called “the horrible humanitarian crisis at the southern border”.
“The democrats could solve the shutdown in 15 minutes! Call your senator or representative is a democrat. Tell them to do their job! Humanitarian crisis”, he tweeted.
He also referred to criticism in the Washington Post about his lack of a plan to restart the government. “In fact, there was almost nobody at the White House, except for me, and I have a plan for the shutdown,” he wrote.
The billionaire republican had assured Friday not wanting to declare “so fast,” proceedings of a national emergency that would allow him to use funds already approved by Congress to finance the construction of the wall on the border.
“What we are not trying to make for the moment is the national emergency,” he said after days of speculation on the use of such a procedure which gives exceptional powers to the president. Use of such a prerogative would plunge for sure the country in a storm politico-legal.
According to several u.s. media, the White House would consider redirecting funds for emergency aid to the various territories devastated by natural disasters, such as Puerto Rico, to fund the construction of a barrier at the border.
In Congress, no compromise on the horizon. The Senate suspended its session early Friday afternoon and will not meet again until Monday.
The consequences are very real. For the first time Friday, the 800,000 federal employees affected by the “shutdown” were not paid their salary.
Since 22 December, half of them, deemed “non-essential”, have been placed on leave without pay, while the other half had been requisitioned.
The House of representatives approved by an overwhelming majority Friday a law, already passed by the Senate, assuring federal employees that they will be paid retroactively once the “shutdown” ended. It is now up to the president to promulgate it.
This type of measurement is common in the United States when the country is going through such budget impasses. But it is not concerned with the millions of contract is also affected.
Several ministries are essential, such as those of internal Security, Justice, or Transport, are affected by the “shutdown”.
On Thursday, the major unions of air transport –airline pilots, flight crews, air traffic controllers– have complained about a deteriorating situation, citing increased risks to the security of the country.
A terminal of the Miami international airport will be closed intermittently from Saturday to Monday, due to a lack of staff.
“Bills to pay”
A demonstration in Washington was also gathered according to the unions more than 2,000 employees of the government, who have expressed their concern about the deterioration of their living conditions.
“We have bills to pay. We have to pay our mortgage,” explained to the AFP Anthony, a civilian employee of the coast guard, whose wife works for a non-profit association.
“Fortunately, we have a little bit of savings to live on, but it’s not going to last for a very long time,” he added, saying that officials were “taken hostage” by the republican president.
Many private or public initiatives, such as free meals or job fairs for the employees in technical unemployment, are organised all over the country.
The paralysis extended to the federal government would have “a significant effect” on the first economy in the world, warned in the week the boss of the us central Bank, Jerome Powell.