Gov. Scott says Vermont prepared for shutdown, urges quick resolution in Washington

The federal government shut down early Saturday morning on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a turbulent end to his first year as president, but something he called “a nice present” from Democrats.

The shutdown will have an effect on hundreds of thousands of citizens around the country including federal employees and members of the military, who could potentially go without pay until the shutdown is over.

Gov. Phil Scott

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott

Gov. Phil Scott’s office released an announcement on Friday declaring that Vermont has been fully prepared for a federal shutdown to occur.

“While the state is prepared for a short-term shutdown, we hope to see a quick resolution to prevent any long-term delay in the distribution of funds that Vermonters rely on, or negative impacts on the economy,” Scott said in a statement.

According to the announcement, the Agency of Administration and the Department of Finance and Management have determined that Vermont has plenty of cash-on-hand to endure a short-term shutdown.

The Department for Children and Families will not be affected by the shutdown, according to the release. Fuel assistance, child care assistance and general assistance are expected to function as normal.

However, the Administration will continue to “closely monitor” cash flow and spending over the course of the shutdown to ensure there are enough available funds until a resolution is met.

Republicans and Democrats came to a stalemate at the Friday midnight deadline for the spending plan that would have funded the government until Feb. 16, and extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, for another six years.

Republican senators fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed to pass the spending bill. Five Democrats supported the bill while four Republicans sided with Democrats against it.

This is the first time in U.S. history that a government shutdown has occurred with a single party controlling the White House and Congress, and the first time it has occured so early into a new presidency.

The main conflict arose from Democrats’ demands for protections of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, sometimes called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) “dreamers.” Republicans responded with demands for stricter immigration policies, funding for the border wall and CHIP having priority over illegal immigrant protection, leaving little time or opportunity for compromise.

The Republican and Democratic national committees were quick to play the blame game against each other, dubbing the shutdown the “Schumer Shutdown” and the “Trump Shutdown.”

President Trump and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., came close to an agreement Friday to keep the government open for the next three weeks, but talks quickly dissolved later in the day over immigration.

Democrats used the shutdown deadline push DACA negotiations, but Republicans refused. The White House said DACA negotiations would not continue until government funding has been restored.

Schumer described negotiating with the president as “negotiating with Jell-O,” accusing the president of “backing off at the first sign of pressure.”

President Trump accused Democrats of putting illegal immigrants first instead of the American people, Tweeting on Friday: “Democrats are far more concerned with illegal immigrants than they are with our great military or safety at our dangerous southern border.”

The House and Senate were back in session Sunday afternoon as senators worked on a plan to move talks forward over funding and immigration.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain and Gov. Phil Scott

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