A test for US President

Thursday, 2018-12-27 15:45:03
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US government partially shut down in fight over President Trump's border wall.
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NDO – The disagreement between the Republicans and Democrats regarding the budget for the construction of the barriers along the United States-Mexico border has made parts of the US Government paralysed due to the lack of budget to maintain operations. After the Democrats took control of the Senate, this is considered the first difficulty they have caused for US President Donald Trump, and also a test for the White House boss’s bravery in the remainder of his presidential tenure.

The US-Mexico border wall has been a hot story on the US politics in the past few months. President Trump has repeatedly stated that the building of the wall is necessary for the US security and interests. However, the Democrats in the US Congress have vehemently protested. The US Senate, controlled by the Democratic Party, passed a temporary spending bill for the federal government until February 2019, excluding the costs for the border barriers. President Trump announced he would not approve a bill without a US$5 billion expenditure on the US-Mexico border wall project which he particularly requested to be included in the government spending bill. The US House of Representatives, now controlled by the Republican Party, then adopted allocation of additional funding for the border wall. Nonetheless, the Democrats did not accept the aforementioned expense, which they said was unreasonable, to be included in the US budget bill. The budget plan failing to get approval at the Senate as scheduled has caused parts of the US government to close due to a lack of funding to maintain operations.

Accordingly, the world’s no. 1 economy has fallen into a rather tragic situation, as parts of the federal government with many important bodies, including Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have suspended operations since mid-night of December 21 due to a lack of budget.

According to the US media, about 800,000 public employees have been forced to temporarily leave their jobs or work unpaid as a result.

What’s worrisome is that the partial closure of the US federal government is likely to last for a long time, as negotiations on the budget bill between the Democratic senators and the White House related to the building of barriers along the border with Mexico have yet to conclude. Talks between the leaders of the Democratic faction in the Senate and the US Vice President and the White House Chief of Staff took place on December 22, but did not see any progress. The Senate then announced that the next meeting will take place today (December 27), at the end of the Christmas holiday.

Meanwhile, on December 26, President Trump stated that parts of the federal government will stay closed for a long time, until his request for a budget of US$5 billion for the US-Mexico border wall is met. The US Congress continued to insist on refuting the aforementioned sum, which threatens to put the US budget bill in long-term deadlock. Speaking after a Christmas conversation with US soldiers, President Trump said: “I cannot tell you when the government will reopen”. The White House boss still did not “concede” against the Democrats and insisted that the full reopening of the government can only happen when a budget deal for the construction of the border wall is reached.

Analysts have said that the border wall along the US-Mexico border is currently the “biggest barrier” that separates the two factions in the US Congress – the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. This financial stalemate has become the first confrontation between Democratic and Republican MPs since the US mid-term elections last November. At the same time, the aforementioned incident also signalises a gloomier future in the US politics regarding the possibility of cooperation between the Democrats and Republicans.

As forecast by US experts, the deadlock on the budget issue will probably last for a long time in the US politics. Currently, not many people are optimistic about the US Congress reaching a bill to resume government activities at the December 27 meeting. Even, the relationship between the Republican and Democratic factions will possibly remain tense at the first session of the new Congress on January 3, 2019, when the MPs elected in midterm elections officially take office.

With the two parties in the US Congress failing to find a common voice, and with such an equilibrium in the power balance at present, negotiations are expected to be difficult in the coming months, which is also a test for the bravery of President Donald Trump. If his policies do not overcome the “gate” of the Senate, the implementation of his commitment to “make the US great again” and the outlook of his re-election are predicted to be extremely difficult.