Hundreds of thousands off work as US government shutdown enters third day

The Senate will vote on stop-gap funding on Monday afternoon

Hundreds of thousands off work as US government shutdown enters third day

Picture by: CNP/SIPA USA/PA Images

Hundreds of thousands of workers will stay off work without pay for a third day after a late-night vote to end a US government shutdown was pushed back.

The Senate there will vote on stop-gap funding at 12.00pm (5.00pm Irish time) on Monday.

It would pave the way to get the federal government fully up and running again until February 8th.

The main stumbling block in agreeing a deal is immigration and the DACA programme to protect from deportation the so-called 'Dreamers' - 700,000 immigrants who arrived illegally in the US as children.

US President Donald Trump said in September he was shutting the scheme, after previously saying they would be protected.

However, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday he would address those concerns in a debate in early February if the issue remains unresolved.

"It would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security and related issues," Mr McConnell said.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat said he was "happy to continue my discussion" but that the two men were "yet to reach an agreement on a path forward."

The vote was meant to have taken place at 1.00am (6.00am Irish time) local time, but was postponed after a bipartisan group of senators failed to forge a compromise between the two sides.

Republicans only have 51 of the 100 Senate seats, and so need to win over Democrats to get the 60 votes required to unlock the funds.

The shutdown started on Friday at midnight and while the military is still active, its personnel will not be paid until politicians agree a funding deal.

New York's Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will re-open on Monday however, after Governor Andrew Cuomo said US$65,000 (€53,172) of state funding would be used each day.

The monument was one of many that shut over the weekend.

Among those losing pay until the impasse is solved are more than 300,000 civilian defence workers.

There have been four government shutdowns since 1990 and in the last one in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has accused Democrats of trying to use the row to distract from President Trump's achievements on his one-year anniversary in the job.

Meanwhile callers to the White House comment line have been surprised to hear a recorded message accusing the Democrats of 'holding government funding hostage'.