The partial three-day government shutdown in the US came to an end after Republican and Democrat lawmakers voted for a temporary funding bill.
At the heart of the issue is US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies that resulted in the impasse.
The current impasse is largely due to a policy that had been initiated by former President Barack Obama called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. The Trump administration rescinded the policy in 2017. Policymakers were given six months to come up with a solution on whether DACA recipients would be deported. There are around 800,000 of these DACA recipients and the President is working to figuring out on the next step in handling this issue. Close to 8,000 Indian Americans are among an estimated 800,000 people facing deportation if DACA is revoked. India ranks 11th among countries of origin for DACA students, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics.
In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass and/or the President fails to sign appropriations: legislation funding government operations and agencies. During the Bill Clinton administration, there were two full government shutdowns during 1995 and 1996 lasting 5 and 21 days respectively, based on disagreement on whether to cut government services, leading to furloughs and significant disruption. During the Barack Obama administration, a government shutdown occurred during October 1–16, 2013.
On January 20th, 2018, Democrats and Republicans could not agree on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open. Problems arose regarding the future of DACA. The Democrats have made it their agenda to ensure that DACA recipients are safe from being deported from the United States. Meanwhile, Trump, who has overseen a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, said in a statement that he would agree to immigration reform "only if it's good for our country".
Just three days after a partial shutdown commenced, Republican and Democrat lawmakers voted for a temporary funding bill. They voted to fund the government for three weeks in exchange for a promise of a future Senate vote on immigration. Ratings agency Standard and Poor's estimated that each week of a government shutdown would cost the US economy roughly $6bn for every week it continued.
"It was essentially a lunch break," Tom Chapel, a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, told Reuters news agency. In a statement Trump noted, "I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses. "We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country."
Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. It should be noted that they have all been considered as probable Democratic Presidential nominees for the year 2020. “I don’t believe he made any commitment whatsoever,” Kamala Harris, a senator from California who opposed the bill, said of McConnell. “And I think it would be foolhardy to believe that he made a commitment.”
Stephanie Taylor, of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said: "Today's cave by Senate Democrats - led by weak-kneed, right-of-centre Democrats - is why people don't believe the Democratic Party stands for anything."
Our assessment is that both sides came out of the shutdown with both sides trying to claim victory. Public opinion so far has also been divided. The real test will be in the near future as both sides will battle it out over immigration reform. With the mid-term elections looming at the end of 2018, the two major parties will be conscious of public opinion and of their own voter base as they continue with debates regarding this subject.