US President Donald Trump yesterday marked the first anniversary of his inauguration with his government in shutdown, accusing Democrats of taking Americans hostage with their demands.
From midnight yesterday, in the absence of an agreed spending plan, federal services began to come to a halt or be scaled back, even as lawmakers continued to argue on the floor of the US Senate.
Essential services and military activity will continue, but many public-sector workers will be sent home without wages and even serving soldiers will not be paid until a deal is reached to reopen the US government.
During a stopover in Shannon Airport in Ireland ahead of a three-country tour of the Middle East, US Vice President Mike Pence met with US troops in transit to overseas assignments and said they had brought up the shutdown.
“You have troops headed down range to Kuwait for six months and they are anxious about the fact that they aren’t going to get paid right away,” he told reporters. “It’s unconscionable.”
A deal had appeared likely on Friday, when Trump seemed to be close to an agreement with Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer on a measure to prevent the expulsion of undocumented migrants who arrived in the country as children.
However, no such compromise was in the language that reached the US Congress for a stop-gap motion to keep the government open for four more weeks while a final arrangement is discussed — and Republicans failed to win enough Democratic support to bring it to a vote.
The White House lashed out at Schumer, blaming him for the shutdown.
Schumer fought back, blaming Trump for leading him to believe a deal was possible on the immigration dispute, but then failing to bring his own party along.
“Every American knows the Republican Party controls [the] White House, the Senate, the House — it is their job to keep the government open. It is their job to work with us to move forward,” Schumer told the Senate, after the 50-49 vote.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no