US Senate passes bill to reopen government

Washington: The United States Senate has passed the short-term spending bill to fund the government until February 15, inching a step closer to reopening the government which has been partially shut since December last year.

The stopgap bill, which was passed by a voice vote by the Senate, will now head to the US House of Representatives for passage, following which it will be signed by US President Donald Trump and come into effect. The legislation, along with a Department of Homeland Security bill, is expected to pass in the US Congress with unanimous consent.

Trump had, on Friday, announced that lawmakers had reached a deal to temporarily halt the partial government shut down. A bipartisan panel will be working on a border security package.

“This is an opportunity for all parties to work together,” Trump had said during a press conference at the White House on Friday.

The latest measures will provide relief to the 800,000 federal workers who have been without pay ever since the shutdown began.

In his remarks, however, the US President threatened to “use the powers afforded” to him by the Constitution if a “fair deal” isn’t reached.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the Government will either shut down on February 15th again – or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security,” Trump highlighted.

Meanwhile, the temporary legislation does not include funding for the wall, which was the reason why the shutdown started in the first place. Trump and the US Congress reached an impasse in December over funding for the fence, with Democrats calling it a waste of money despite Trump’s repeated demands for a wall on the US-Mexico border.


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