Fed govt shutdown worries Torres


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has expressed concern over the federal government shutdown, which started midnight of Jan. 20, 2018, exactly one year since U.S. President Donald J. Trump took office.

Knowing that there are several federal employees in the CNMI affected by the shutdown, Torres is also concerned about local government agencies that have frequent communications with federal offices, such as the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.

“We have many of our friends and family furloughed during this shutdown. These include our vital agencies such as BECQ, which works directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in tackling environmental issues here in the Marianas and [the] Department of Lands and Natural Resources and its collaboration with U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife in coordinating the management of our fisheries and natural resources,” said Torres.

Even the men and women in the military reserves are affected by the shutdown.

“Many of our agencies and offices that rely on quarterly allotments will not be able to process federal drawdowns for essential public services in a timely manner. It is my hope that this shutdown gets resolved soon on all sides and does not persist longer than it should, in the best interest of all our affected federal employees here in the Marianas,” he said.

Bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate remain in lockdown after the Senate rejected a draft spending bill to fund the government. According to reports, the House spending bill, which needed 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to advance, was met with 45 Democrat senators and five Republic senators voting against the bill.

Senators that opposed the spending bill reportedly refused to support the spending measure until a deal is struck with Trump on disaster relief efforts, opioid treatment support, and immigration issues, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program established in 2012 by former president Barack Obama.

DACA deferred deportation for an estimated 700,000 individuals, most of whom entered the U.S. illegally as minors. Trump rescinded DACA on Sept. 5, 2017, leaving an estimated 800,000 individuals for deportation; however implementation of the rescission would ensue after six months to give the U.S. Congress time to figure out how to deal with those affected.

Democratic leaders believe that tying DACA discussions to the spending measure is the best way to ensure its success.

Both parties refuse to budge during the first day of the federal government shutdown.

According to wire stories, the GOP offered a three-week quick fix with the promise to discuss immigration during those times; however, Democrats remain insistent on allowing only several days of reopening the federal government to pressure the GOP into talking immigration, while the Democrats threatened to kill the three-week fix.

One day into the government shutdown and still no agreement has been reached.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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