U.S govt reopens as shutdown costs America $3bn

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The United States, U.S, economy was expected to lose $3 billion from the partial federal government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand for border wall funding, congressional researchers disclosed yesterday as 800,000 federal employees returned to work after a 35-day unpaid furlough.

Trump retreated on Friday from his demand for funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that had caused the closure of about a quarter of the government. He also threatened to resume the shutdown on February 15 if he does not get what he wants.

The president demanded that $5.7 billion in wall funding be part of any measure to end the shutdown, which started when several agencies ran out of money on December 22 for reasons unrelated to immigration or border security.

Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government again if lawmakers do not reach a deal he finds acceptable on border security. On Sunday, he expressed skepticism such an deal could be made, putting the odds at 50-50.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, CBO, said the cost of the shutdown will make the U.S. economy 0.02 per cent smaller than expected in 2019. More significant effects will be felt by individual businesses and workers, particularly those who went without pay.

Overall, the U.S. economy lost about $11 billion during the five-week period, CBO said. However, CBO expects $8 billion to be recovered as the government reopens and employees receive back pay.

The longest shutdown in U.S. history ended on Friday when Trump and Congress agreed to temporary government funding without money for his wall as the effects of the shutdown intensified across the country.

Republican Trump had demanded that legislation to fund the government contain $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, stressing that it is necessary to stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug smuggling, while Democrats call it costly, inefficient and immoral.

A committee of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have scheduled an initial meeting on Wednesday, which will be open to the public, as they try to negotiate a compromise on border security before the Feb. 15 deadline.

That session is likely to see little more than opening statements by lawmakers. Subsequent meetings could be conducted in private, where the hard bargaining would take place, several congressional aides said.

Owing to rules governing legislation in the House of Representatives requiring a 72-hour period for lawmakers to review legislation before having to vote on it, the committee might have to wrap up its work by around Feb. 10 in order to meet a Feb. 15 deadline for congressional approval.

Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government again if lawmakers do not reach a deal he finds acceptable on border security. On Sunday, he expressed skepticism such an deal could be made.

Trump has also said he might declare a national emergency to get money for the national emergency to get money for the border wall even as Democrats would likely challenge such move in court.

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