Thousands off work as US govt shutdown drags on


Hundreds of thousands of workers will stay off work without pay for a third day after a late-night vote to end a US government shutdown was pushed back.

The Senate will now vote on stop-gap funding at 12pm (5pm UK time) on Monday.

The measure would pave the way to get the federal government fully up and running again until 8 February.

The main stumbling block in agreeing a deal is immigration and the DACA programme to protect from deportation the so-called “Dreamers” – 700,000 immigrants who arrived illegally in the US as children.

President Donald Trump said in September he was shutting the scheme, after previously saying they would be protected.

However, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday he would address those concerns in a debate in early February if the issue remains unresolved.

“It would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security and related issues,” Mr McConnell said.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said he was “happy to continue my discussion” but that the two sides were “yet to reach an agreement on a path forward.”

The vote was meant to have taken place at 1am (6am UK time) local time, but was postponed after a bipartisan group of senators failed to forge a compromise between the two sides.

Republicans only have 51 of the 100 Senate seats, and so need to win over Democrats to get the 60 votes required to unlock the funds.

The shutdown started on Friday at midnight and while the military is still active, its personnel will not be paid until politicians agree a funding deal.

New York’s Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will reopen on Monday however, after Governor Andrew Cuomo said $65,000 of state funding would be used each day.

The monument was one of many that shut over the weekend.

Among those losing pay until the impasse is solved are more than 300,000 civilian defence workers.

There have been four government shutdowns since 1990 and in the last one in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has accused Democrats of trying to use the row to distract from Mr Trump’s achievements on his one-year anniversary in the job.

She said the President would not “negotiate on the status of unlawful immigrants” while Democrats hold the “government and our military hostage”.