April 19, 2019

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US shutdown talks stall ahead of deadline

US shutdown talks stall ahead of deadline
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Talks between congressional Republicans and Democrats aimed at averting another US government shutdown have broken down without agreement.

The negotiators were hoping for a deal by Monday to give Congress time to pass legislation by Friday, when last month’s federal funding deal runs out.

The disagreement centres on President Donald Trump’s insistence on a bill that funds a US-Mexico border wall.

The previous shutdown, lasting 35 days, was the longest in US history.

Hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed or worked without pay. The cost to the US economy was estimated at $11bn (£8.5bn).

What is the latest impasse about?

Democrats want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to concentrate on detaining migrants with criminal records instead of those who have overstayed their visas by limiting the number of beds its detention centres have.

Democrats were hoping to cap the number of beds at 16,500. That is roughly the number of people detained in the last years of the Obama White House, the Washington Post says.

The 17 negotiators from the Senate and the House had also been looking at between $1.3bn and $2bn in funding for Mr Trump’s proposed border wall, a long way off the $5.7bn the president has been demanding, reports say.

Lead Republican negotiator Senator Richard Shelby said on Sunday he was “not confident we’re going to get there”.

“I’ll say 50-50 we get a deal,” he told Fox News, adding: “The spectre of a shutdown is always out there.”

However one of the Democratic negotiators, Jon Tester, said he remained hopeful a deal could be reached in time to avoid a new shutdown.

“It’s a negotiation. Negotiations seldom go smooth all the way through,” he told Fox News Sunday.

Source: BBC

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