14:09 GMT21 October 2020
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    USA Today’s Susan Page has come up with five possible scenarios that could lead the US out of the current government shutdown impasse – and provided reasons why they are not going to happen.

    The ongoing US government shutdown is now officially the longest in the history of the United States. On Monday, the shutdown hit its 24th day; the prior record of 21 days was established under President Bill Clinton back in 1995. At the moment, both US President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear determined to hold their ground regarding funding a wall on the Mexican border. Trump even turned down Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's proposal to reopen the government temporarily in order to provide funding to some of the government's most crucial agencies.

    In the meantime, Page speculated on how the impasse might end — and the hurdles inherent in any path out of the morass.

    The first two scenarios are also the most obvious: either Trump or Pelosi caves. However, there are reasons besides their personal ambition that would stop either of them from doing that. For Trump, giving in would mean losing the support of conservatives. This has already happened once: when Trump agreed to a budget compromise in December, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, prominent right-wing pundits, chewed him out for it.

    For the recently appointed Pelosi, this standoff is a test of her leadership in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. To prove herself, she has to demonstrate she can be as tough as Trump, Page writes.

    The third scenario involves sudden support from Senate Republicans. Lawmakers particularly anxious about getting re-elected in 2020 might create a force of support for a spending bill approved by the House. However, this is also an unlikely scenario, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he is not going to challenge the president. According to Page, McConnell said he will not allow a bill to reach the Senate floor that the president won't sign.

    Besides, polls indicate that the public blames either Trump or the Democrats for the government shutdown, which has led to hundreds of thousands of government employees furloughed without payment. So far, other Republicans have managed to stay away from the spotlight of the blame game, and they would like to keep it that way, according to a report by CNN.

    The fourth scenario involves finding some kind of compromise that will both fund the construction of the wall, while also securing certain benefits for undocumented immigrants, such as codified protection of the so-called "dreamers" (children illegally brought into US by their parents and raised in the country).

    However, as stated above, neither Trump nor the Democrats represented by Pelosi are interested in compromise. Besides, the border wall issue has become a matter of principle for both parties.

    "Democratic lawmakers and aides make clear that this fight is yes, driven by opposition to the policy of a border wall, and yes, driven by the symbolism that the wall, as Trump's key campaign promise, represents," CNN's report on the issue says.

    The only way out of the shutdown impasse, Page says, would be for Trump to declare a national state of emergency and divert money from the Pentagon to construct the border wall. However, analysts say Trump's power would then be challenged by courts.

    "Wall construction would likely be blocked by the courts until the legal issues are considered," Page writes.

    Besides, declaring a national emergency would create a precedent that could be exploited by a future Democratic president in a similar fashion, Republicans reportedly warned the president, who has already stated his eagerness to resort to drastic measures.

    With no clear way out of the situation, it's likely the president will have to deliver the next State of the Union address — set for January 29 — still stuck in the midst of a shutdown, she warns.


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    Government Shutdown, Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, United States
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