Can we ban government shutdowns?

Trump does not want to deliver State of the Union speech until after the shutdown

Washington - US President Donald Trump wants to deliver the traditional State of the Union address only after the government shutdown. "I'll give the speech when the shutdown is over," wrote Trump on Thursday night on Twitter. Opposition leader Nancy Pelosi had previously unloaded him from Congress in her capacity as Speaker of Parliament.

The speech was to take place on Tuesday evening (local time) in the Chamber of Representatives in front of the MPs and Senators. After Pelosi's discharge, Trump initially considered delivering the speech elsewhere. But now he admitted that there is no place "that can match the history, tradition and importance of the House of Representatives". He therefore decided to postpone it. "I look forward to delivering a great State of the Union address in the near future," said Trump.

Pelosi informed Trump on Wednesday that the House of Representatives would not vote on a resolution allowing the president to speak before the shutdown ended. Without the formal invitation from the chamber chairman, Trump cannot speak in front of Congress. The opposition Democrats have been in control of the larger US parliamentary chamber since early January.

With the letter, Pelosi responded to a recently received letter from the President insisting on delivering the address at the scheduled time and place. Trump called it "very sad for our country" if his address were canceled.

Longest shutdown in US history

The budget dispute between Trump and the Democrats has resulted in the longest shutdown in US history. The budget lock has now been in place for more than a month. The conflict is about a sum of 5.7 billion dollars (5.01 billion euros) demanded by Trump for his project to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The Democrats deny him these funds because they see a betrayal of American values ​​in the construction of a border wall.

Leading Democrats in the House of Representatives prepared a new compromise proposal to end the shutdown. Accordingly, Trump should receive the required funds for security on the border with Mexico in large parts or in full. The money should not be made available for the construction of a wall demanded by Trump, but for border protection technology such as drones and more border patrols, as MP James Clyburn explained. Trump does not want to sign a budget bill that does not include the funds for a wall.

Vote on Thursday

Although two bills to end the blockade are to be voted on in the Senate on Thursday, both advances are hardly given a chance of a majority. One of the initiatives comes from the ranks of the Republicans and has budgets through September. The text contains the sum demanded by Trump for the construction of the wall and his proposals for immigration policy. The other bill comes from the Democrats and only provides for a brief interim funding from the authorities until February 8th. This is to gain time to debate border security and immigration. Around 800,000 federal employees have been on compulsory leave for a month or more because of the dispute or have to work without pay.

Economic stagnation possible

Meanwhile, concerns about the economic impact of the shutdown increased. Trump's economic advisor Kevin Hassett said on CNN on Wednesday that economic stagnation could result if the budget blockade continues throughout the quarter. Over the year as a whole, however, the economy should grow by three percent. Economists said they expect a damper on the US economy. 60 percent of the 51 economists polled by Reuters were of this opinion. On average, they expected GDP to decrease by 0.3 percentage points. The predictions ranged from 0.1 to 1.3 percentage points. (APA, January 24, 2019)