Prime News Ghana

US shutdown: Trump angered by Democrat rejection of 'compromise'

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has attacked Democrats for rejecting his proposals to end the longest government shutdown in US history.

He said his plans had been dismissed before he had even presented them.

Mr Trump had offered "compromises" in exchange for funding for his security wall along the Mexican border, the issue that has caused the shutdown.

But Democrats called the proposals "unacceptable", a "non-starter" and "hostage taking".

There were two main offers in an address Mr Trump made on Saturday:

 Some 700,000 so-called Dreamers, who were young when they entered the US illegally with their parents, would be protected for another three years

 Some 300,000 people holding visas under Temporary Protection Status (TPS) would also get three years' protection. These are people who have fled countries affected by war or disasters.

Read also: Trump offers 'compromise' to end government shutdown

What is the latest from Mr Trump?

On Twitter, he said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats had "turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak".

He said his opponents "don't see crime and drugs, they only see 2020 - which they are not going to win".

A second tweet appeared aimed at the conservative right, which fears the offer he made on immigration would amount to an amnesty.

He tweeted: "No. Amnesty is not part of my offer." He said he was only talking about a three-year extension and that an amnesty would "be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else".

Mr Trump also said he was not planning a "big push to remove 11 million plus people" in the US illegally, but added a warning to Ms Pelosi to "be careful" on that.

What did the Democrats say?

The target of Mr Trump's anger was a statement released by Ms Pelosianticipating - and rejecting - the concessions before they were made.

She said the proposals were "a non-starter" and "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives".

Senator Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump had previously "single-handedly" taken away Dreamer and TPS protections and that offering some protections back was "not a compromise but more hostage taking".

The Democrats insist they will not negotiate until government is reopened.

The party took over control of the House this year, while Mr Trump's Republicans still have a majority in the Senate. The federal budget funding would have to be agreed by both.

Opinion polls suggest most Americans blame Mr Trump more than the Democrats for the shutdown.

Shutdown likely to drag on

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

Donald Trump struck a deal to reopen the government and build his much-promised wall - with one small problem. He was negotiating with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and if he wants to succeed he's going to have to get Democrats on board.

It's a touch ironic that the deal Mr Trump outlined - his wall in exchange for protection for certain childhood undocumented migrants and temporary resident aliens - was one the president walked away from last year when Democrats were the ones instigating a shutdown.

After senators thought they had an agreement, the White House issued new demands for reforms to legal immigration. Now Democrats are in control of the House, and the calculus has changed. Mr Trump's offer of temporary immigrant protection probably isn't any greater than the ones courts have already imposed.

The president's move may put some pressure on his opponents to return to the negotiating table, but they still feel they have the upper hand. Unless that changes - or the president backs down - the shutdown will drag on.

How is the shutdown affecting unpaid workers?

Some of the 800,000 federal employees who have been going unpaid since 22 December are in increasingly dire straits as the shutdown enters its fifth week.

More than 1,500 appeals have been set up by them on crowdfunding site GoFundMe, seeking a financial lifeline to pay rent or feed and clothe their children.

Read also: Burkina Faso: Prime Minister and cabinet resign from office

Source: BBC