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US shutdown becomes longest on record

IANS  |  Washington 

The partial shutdown of the US has become the longest on record, overtaking the previous record of the 21-day impasse in 1995-96 under then

With no end in sight to the political standoff, the current shutdown entered its 22nd day on Saturday and eclipsed the shutdown that stretched from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, the US media reported.

US and have been at loggerheads over his demand to include in the budget $5.7 billion funding for building a wall along the border. Democratic leaders have rejected his call.

About a quarter of the federal was still out of operation till a spending plan was agreed upon, leaving 800,000 employees unpaid.

Trump vacillated on Friday over whether he would declare a national emergency to build the wall. With no clear path forward, the earlier in the week had said he would do so and divert money from other departments to build the wall without congressional approval, according to news.

But in his latest comments Trump said that "what we're not looking to do right now" is a national emergency. "I'm not going to do it so fast".

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed their first paychecks on Friday, raising the pressure on lawmakers and the to end the shutdown.

called the extended shutdown "totally unnecessary".

With negotiations unsuccessful, staff at the Office of Management and Budget were laying the groundwork for the shutdown to continue through the end of February, according to officials who were briefed on the plans.

In one sign that lawmakers were feeling some pressure, the House on Friday passed a bill approving back pay for federal employees who missed their paychecks because of the shutdown.

The bill, which the approved on Thursday, mandated that the roughly 420,000 essential employees working without pay and the 380,000 furloughed workers would be compensated as soon as the reopens. Trump said he would sign the bill.

Democrats warned that if Trump declares a national emergency to build the wall, he could set a precedent that could backfire on Republicans under a

"They should be concerned that if he wants something passed, he or she is going to try to bypass the by going this particular route," said

But some Republicans pushed Trump to declare an emergency, given the impasse with Democrats.

"Mr President, declare a national emergency now," Senator said on "Build a wall now."

Meanwhile, in the Senate, groups of Republicans continued to search for agreements they hoped would chart a path out of the impasse.

Senators and introduced legislation that would establish a $25 billion trust fund for border security to pay for at least 700 miles of reinforced fencing, additional physical barriers and more technology.

The bill would also include protections for a group of undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the US at a young age by their parents.

Trump had ended an Obama-era programme, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), that shielded hundreds of thousands of the immigrants from deportation. But his action was rejected by an appeals court in November.

The issue is expected to be reviewed by the

The bill from Portman and Moran would allow the immigrants, known as Dreamers, to continue to renew their protected status every two years.

--IANS

soni/bg

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 12 2019. 16:18 IST
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