- The US federal government is now in the 33rd day of its partial shutdown.
- The federal court system warned Tuesday that it would soon run out of funds and pare operations down to “critical” functions beginning February 1.
- The Senate is scheduled to vote on two competing proposals to reopen the government on Thursday, though neither is expected to pass.
- One bill, endorsed by President Donald Trump but already rejected by Democrats, proposes temporary protections for some immigrants in exchange for $US5.7 billion in border-wall funding.
- A bill backed by Democrats offers a stopgap funding measure that would reopen the government until February 8, but it lacks the border-wall money Trump says is a red line.
The US federal court system has warned that it will soon run out of funds and be forced to pare its operations down to “critical” functions, as the record government shutdown rolls into its 33rd day.
Congress is preparing to debate two bills that aim to reopen the government, but the prospects for both seem poor. The two bills are scheduled to come before the Senate for a vote Thursday, but neither seems likely to break the deadlock.
Courts officials sounded a warning siren on Tuesday. The Administrative Office of the US Courts said its contingency funding plans could continue only until January 31, having been extended twice already.
It said courts would be reduced to “mission critical” operations, with civil cases the most affected. Each court will determine how many staff members it needs to keep, with most expected to be furloughed.
It said courts had already cut down on expenses like hiring and travel but would need to make far deeper cuts soon.
It said the prior strategy of using other small pools of money, and cutting where possible, was a “temporary stopgap” that could not be repeated if the shutdown continued into February.
It said courts would still be able to conduct criminal trials.
Bills to reopen the government look dead on arrival
Two competing proposals to reopen the government are expected to fail in the Senate on Thursday, based on the publicly stated positions of both parties.
One of the votes will be on a Republican bill endorsed by President Donald Trump, which asks for the $US5.7 billion Trump wants for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
In exchange it offers temporary protection for some unauthorised immigrants including many, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as children.
Democrats have already rejected the deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “unacceptable,” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described Trump’s strategy as “hostage-taking.”
As such, the plan is unlikely to get the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate, and if it did, it would almost certainly be rejected by the Democrat-controlled House.
The other plan is backed by Democrats, and it has already passed the House.
It would fund the government until February 8, allowing lawmakers to negotiate on funding for the border wall without the extra crisis of a government shutdown.
But the bill does not include any new money for the wall, which Trump has said is his red line for ending the shutdown.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN on Tuesday that McConnell did not support the bill.
This means the stalemate between the two parties is likely to continue.
FBI warnings, Coast Guard using food bank, and a potential $US5.7 billion hit to the economy: other effects of the shutdown
- FBI agents gave shocking warnings about how the shutdown could affect safety in the US, saying the lapse in funds meant indictments over violent crimes were not happening and investigations had stalled.
- The Coast Guard leader said the shutdown had forced some members “to rely on food pantries and donations.”
- By the end of this week, the shutdown could end up costing more than the $US5.7 billion Trump wants for the border wall.
- One in 10 airport security screeners missed work over the holiday weekend, almost triple the number over the same period last year.
- The government has been left powerless in dealing with product recalls, potentially putting customers in dangerous situations.
- Schools are worried about being able to feed children their lunches if the shutdown continues.
- Cybersecurity experts say the shutdown is putting the US is at greater risk of attack.
- Secret Service agents are working with no pay, with some saying that they are struggling to make ends meet and that job performance could be affected.
- National parks are facing piles of trash and damaged trees.
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