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US Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions Wednesday aimed at halting North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs.

The Department of Treasury placed sanctions on nine entities, including two China-based trading firms that helped export millions of dollars’ worth of metals and other materials used in Pyongyang’s defense sector.

Sixteen individuals were also targeted, including members of the ruling Workers Party of Korea, who conduct business in China, Russia and the region of Abkhazia, a partially recognized state south of Russia and northwest of Georgia. The Treasury Department urged those countries to expel the individuals, who are prohibited from dealing with Americans.

Ten China- and Russian-based representatives of the Korean Ryonbong General Corporation were among those targeted. The company supports Pyongyang’s defense industry and is already under U.S. and U.N. sanctions. 

Five North Korean shipping companies and six vessels were also among the blacklisted entities.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim [Jong-un] regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The latest sanctions come as the global community has resorted to an economic crackdown to curb the aggression of Kim’s regime. But the U.S. and other countries have cited continuous violations of the sanctions meant to deter the North’s nuclear and missile development programs.

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Trump to Meet With World Leaders, Business CEOs at Davos Forum

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and other world leaders when he attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, White House officials said on Tuesday.

Trump is due to take an overnight flight on Wednesday night to snowbound Davos, where he will encourage investment in the United States and cooperation on national security issues, including the fight against Islamic State and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Trump will have a full day of meetings in Davos on Thursday and then deliver a keynote address to the forum on Friday before returning to the United States later that day.

White House senior economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump will use his speech to encourage global companies to invest in the United States and take advantage of Trump’s corporate tax cuts.

He will also stress his “America First” policies and seek more reciprocal trade policies from U.S. allies, Cohn said, in keeping with Trump’s belief that international trade deals are tilted against the United States.

“The president will continue to promote fair economic competition and will make it clear that there cannot be free and open trade if countries are not held accountable to the rules,” Cohn told reporters.

Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend Davos in 20 years, giving him a chance to mingle with the same elite “globalists” that he bashed in his 2016 presidential run.

In addition to meetings with world leaders, Trump will also host a small dinner for European business executives on Thursday night.

“The attendees run companies that have sizeable footprints in the United States. They have invested in our economy, we want them to continue to do so and encourage others to join them,” said Cohn.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Trump will meet with Britain’s May to discuss North Korea, the Syrian civil war and the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran and which Trump has vowed to abandon unless changes can be made.

Trump and May have had a rocky first year since Trump took power, which included British anger over the U.S. leak of the name of a suicide bomber in Manchester last May.

The two sides have been unable to agree on an appropriate time for Trump to visit Britain. Earlier this month, he pulled out of a potential February trip for the opening of a new U.S. embassy in London.

Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu will be his first one since he declared that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision that has strained U.S. ties with some Arab leaders.

McMaster said that in the meeting with Netanyahu, Trump will “reiterate America’s strong commitment to Israel and efforts to reduce Iran’s influence in the Middle East and ways to achieve lasting peace.”

Other meetings include Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is chairman of the African Union, to discuss trade and security.

Trump will also meet with President Alain Berset of Switzerland.

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US Warns North Korea Aiming to Build Nuclear Arsenal

U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is rational, ambitious and is not likely to settle for simply using his country’s nuclear weapons program to stay in power.

“We do believe that Kim Jung Un, given these tool sets, would use them for things besides simply regime protection,” U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo warned Tuesday.

“Call it coercive, how Kim Jong Un is prepared to use these nuclear weapons,” Pompeo said, describing the North Korean leader’s ultimate goal as “reunification of the (Korean) Peninsula under his authority.”

Pompeo and other intelligence officials have said repeatedly that Pyongyang is likely just months away from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear armed missile.  

But speaking at an event hosted in Washington by the conservative research group the American Enterprise Institute, Pompeo cautioned that the North Korean leader is bent on presenting the world with an even greater threat. 

“The logical next step would be to develop an arsenal of weapons … the capacity to deliver from multiple firings of these missiles simultaneously,” Pompeo said.

U.S. officials say President Donald Trump is focused on pursuing a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis, though defense and intelligence officials have also said all options are on the table to prevent North Korea from using nuclear weapons.

​Pompeo Tuesday refused to answer questions about whether there are any viable options for limited strikes to take out Pyongyang’s weapon sites, saying only, “We are working to prepare a series of options to make sure we can deliver a range of things so that the president will have the full sweep of possibilities.”

The CIA director also praised his agency for improving its reach and insights into North Korea over the past year, though he said more work needed to be done.

“We’re not quite where we need to be,” Pompeo said. “We are still suffering from having gaps.”

Among the gaps, Pompeo said, was the ability to gauge the impact sanctions on the North Korean regime.

Pyongyang has aggressively developed its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs in defiance of numerous international sanctions.

A number of countries and international organizations have imposed a variety of financial and trade sanctions against Pyongyang, including China’s decision to restrict oil and coal supplies to the country.

North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its struggling economy afloat. Oil is also required for its intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear program.

And even if the sanctions are making an impact, there are ongoing concerns that Kim Jong Un may not fully understand the Trump administration’s resolve.

“We’re concerned that he may not be getting really good accurate information,” Pompeo said. “It is not a healthy thing to be a senior leader, bring bad news to Kim Jong-Un.”

“We’re taking the real-world actions that we think would make unmistakable to Kim Jong-Un that we are intent on denuclearization. We were counting on the fact that he will see it,” Pompeo said.

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Winners, Losers of Trump’s Solar Panel Tariff

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a steep tariff on imported solar panels, a move billed as a way to protect American jobs but which the solar industry said would lead to tens of thousands of layoffs.

The following are some questions and answers about the decision:

What impact will the decision have on the solar industry?

Trump has said the tariff will lead to more U.S. manufacturing jobs, by preventing foreign goods that are cheap and often subsidized from undercutting domestic products. He also expects foreign solar panel producers to start manufacturing in the United States.

“You’re going to have people getting jobs again and we’re going to make our own product again. It’s been a long time,” Trump said as he signed the order.

The main solar industry trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association, has a different view: It predicts the tariff will put 23,000 people out of work in the panel installation business this year by raising product costs and thus reducing demand.

Research firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that over the next five years the tariffs would reduce U.S. solar installation growth by 10 to 15 percent. The United States is the world’s fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany.

Research firm CFRA analyst Angelo Zino said he expected any added manufacturing jobs would be “minimal” given the 18 months to two years it takes to build and ramp up a new production facility and the industry’s shift toward automation.

Who wanted the tariff?

The main beneficiaries of the tariff include U.S.-based solar manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld.

Suniva filed for bankruptcy in April, days before it filed the petition for trade relief. The Georgia-based company argued it could not compete with the cheap imports that have caused panel prices to fall more than 30 percent since 2016. It was later joined in the petition by SolarWorld. They asked the Trump administration for the equivalent of a 50 percent tariff.

Suniva is majority-owned by Hong Kong-based Shunfeng International Clean Energy, and SolarWorld is the U.S. arm of Germany’s SolarWorld AG.

Suniva called the tariffs “necessary,” while SolarWorld said it was “hopeful they will be enough.”

Most other U.S. solar companies, including SunPower, which manufactures panels in Asia, and residential installer SunRun Inc. were opposed to the trade barrier — as were offshore manufacturers such as China’s JinkoSolar, which will be among the biggest losers.

Solar manufacturer and developer First Solar supported the tariffs, and is likely to be among the biggest beneficiaries. First Solar makes panels using cadmium telluride that are excluded from the trade case. The company has seen an increase in demand for its unique technology.

Will the tariff lead to a trade war?

China branded the move an “overreaction” that would harm the global trade environment.

“The U.S.’s decision … is an abuse of trade remedy measures, and China expresses strong dissatisfaction regarding this,” said Wang Hejun, the head of the commerce ministry’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau. “China will work with other WTO [World Trade Organization] members to resolutely defend its legitimate interests in response to the erroneous U.S. decision.”

Trump dismissed worries of trade retaliation.

“There won’t be a trade war. It’ll only be stock increases for companies that are in our country,” he said.

How does the tariff fit into Trump’s energy policy?

If the tariff cools growth in the U.S. solar industry, it could help Trump’s effort to support the coal industry — which competes with renewable energy technologies for a share of the nation’s power generation market.

Trump campaigned on a promise to revive the ailing coal mining sector and boost U.S. production of other fossil fuels as a way to create jobs and bolster American influence overseas.

He has also downplayed the threat from global warming — an issue that led past administrations to throw their support behind emissions-free solar and wind energy development — rolling back climate change regulations and pulling the United States from a global pact to combat it.

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Immigration Promise Breaks Congressional Deadlock, Reopens Government

A partial U.S. government shutdown ended Monday with Senate Democrats providing enough votes to restart federal funding for the next few weeks in return for a promise by the Republican leadership to bring an immigration bill up for a vote by February 8. VOA House correspondent Katherine Gypson looks at how the brief shutdown sets up an even tougher fight ahead on Capitol Hill.

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Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Not Done with the US Government Shutdown

The United States government is headed back to work Tuesday, but Russia does not appear to be done trying to capitalize on the nearly three-day-long shutdown.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill late Monday, funding the government through February 8. But even as lawmakers and the White House reached agreement, Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations continued to post hashtags seemingly aimed at amplifying the country’s political divisions.

As of 10 p.m. ET Monday night, the hashtag #schumershutdown had been used 535 times in the last 48 hours, according to Hamilton 68, an online site that tracks about 600 Twitter accounts.

Meanwhile, the site reported the top trending hashtag was #schumersellout – it’s use increasing by 4,800 percent over the same period.

Both hashtags refer to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who ultimately agreed to compromise with Republican lawmakers after initially refusing to support any spending bills without getting a deal on protecting “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to America as children, from possible deportation.

Among those using #schumershutdown Monday was U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

“Thanks to the firm stand taken by @POTUS & Senate & House Republicans, the gov’t shutdown is coming to an end. The #SchumerShutdown failed,” Pence tweeted Monday while visiting Israel.

President Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., also used it late Monday.

“Americans don’t forget that the #SchumerShutdown put illegal immigrants ahead of our military and American children’s insurance,” Trump, Jr. tweeted. “Just remember where you stood in their eyes.”

Meanwhile, #schumersellout began trending on Twitter Monday, used in 19,700 tweets as of about 10 p.m. ET.

Among the accounts using it was the Michigan Republican Party, which tweeted, “Schumer Sells Out the Resistance #SchumerSellout,” along with a link to an opinion column in The New York Times.

The Hamilton 68 website makes clear that hashtags like #schumershutdown or #schumersellout are often not created by the Russian-linked accounts. Instead, they often take hashtags created by Twitter users who are not necessarily linked to Russia and try to amplify them to help perpetuate existing divides.

The site said other top hashtags being heavily promoted by the Russian-linked accounts included “releasethememo”, “QAnon”, “maga”, “Syria”, “nodaca”, “wethepeople” and “Russia.”

#ReleasetheMemo, which the Russian-linked accounts tweeted 480 times Sunday and Monday, saw their heaviest usage late last week (Thursday and Friday), when the accounts tweeted the hashtag more than 3,000 times.

It also gained popularity among Twitter users, including some in Congress, pushing the House Intelligence Committee to release a confidential report written by the committee’s chairman, Republican Devin Nunes.

They argued the report shed light of bias at the FBI and the Department of Justice, both of which have been investigation possible ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers from both parties have warned Russia is continuing to try to meddle in U.S. politics with an eye on the 2018 midterm elections. Russia has denied the allegation.

“They’re trying to undermine Western democracy,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Aspen Security Forum this past July, admitting Russia’s influence efforts are “quite a bit more sophisticated than they used to be.”

“I think all of my colleagues probably are worried or should be worried about it,” Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr warned last month.

“To believe that Russia’s not attempting in the United States to do things potentially for the ’18 cycle I think would be ignorant on our part,” Burr said.

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US Government Reopens After Partial Shutdown

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a bill reopening the government, ending a 3-day partial shutdown that was triggered in part by a partisan brawl over immigration.

Late Monday, members of the House of Representatives voted to approve the bill the U.S. Senate passed earlier in the day.

The so-called continuing resolution keeps the government funded until February 8 to allow Congress time to reach a longer-term budget agreement.

“It’s good news for the country,” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told reporters.

“Today is a day to celebrate,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said. “When government shuts down, it represents the ultimate failure to govern.”

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders,” President Donald Trump said in a statement read by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump later tweeted that after a “Big win for Republicans” he wants “a big win for everyone” on those issues.

“Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!” he said.

The White House argues Democrats “caved” after Trump refused to negotiate with them on immigration policy until the government reopened. Democrats had been holding out for a firmer commitment to provide protections for some 700,000 younger immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children.

Earlier, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reassured Democrats that the Senate would address a range of immigration topics, including hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.

“So long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], border security, and related issues as well as disaster relief, defense funding, health care and other important matters,” McConnell said.

Democrats, who banded together to help defeat a funding bill late Friday, signaled a wary acceptance of the Republican offer.

“While this procedure will not satisfy everyone on all sides, it’s a way forward,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. “We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the [Senate] floor.”

Enacting immigration reform will require more than the Senate, however. Action by the House of Representatives and Trump’s signature will also be required.

The White House has sent conflicting signals on what the president will accept in a final immigration deal. House Republicans, meanwhile, said they are not bound by promises made in the Senate.

“What they do inside their [Senate] chamber is up to them,” Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole said.

“The Senate’s finally doing the job, but that doesn’t commit us to doing anything other than what we said,” Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York said. “We will also negotiate [on immigration] in good faith.”

Democrats, who had been hailed by immigrant rights advocates for drawing a line in the sand Friday, were blasted as weak-willed for taking the Republican deal.

“This Congress needs to get a heart and grow a backbone,” the California-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said in a statement. “Democrats need to grow some courage and keep their word. It is a shame the leadership of the Democratic Senate chose to wait one more time to fulfill their promise to the Latino and immigrant community and the country as a whole.”

In a statement Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) complained, “This simply kicks the can down the road with no assurance that we will protect Dreamers [DACA recipients] from deportation or fight Republican attempts to curtail or eliminate legal immigration.”

President Trump repeatedly accused Democrats of siding with illegal immigrants over the American people, a charge Democrats firmly rejected. On Monday, however, the White House expressed hope for a bipartisan deal on immigration.

WATCH: Government reopens

​”I don’t think there’s a whole lot of daylight between where we are and where the Democrats are,” Sanders said at a press briefing. “We certainly want to negotiate and get to a place [agreement], and we’re hopeful we can do that over the next couple of weeks.”

The U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year began in October of last year, but Congress has yet to authorize a full year of spending, passing a series of short-term funding measures at 2017 levels, instead. Democrats went along with three extensions but balked at a fourth last week after immigration talks with Republicans and the White House broke down.

VOA’s Peter Heinlein and Katherine Gypson contributed to this report.

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US Senate Paves Way to End Partial Government Shutdown

The U.S. Senate advanced a stop-gap funding bill on Monday that paves the way to reopen the federal government three days into a partial shutdown that was triggered in part by a partisan brawl over immigration.

 

Thirty-three Democrats joined 48 Republicans to end debate in the 100-member chamber on a bill extending the government’s spending authority through Feb. 8, setting the stage for final Senate passage. Swift approval was expected in the House of Representatives, after which the bill would go to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.

The Democrats had demanded firm assurances that the chamber would consider the fate of the immigrants who were brought into the U.S. years ago by their parents before agreeing to end the legislative standoff. Democratic leader Charles Schumer said McConnell assured him if the immigration issue is not resolved by February 8, the Senate would immediately consider it right after that date.

The legislation to end the shutdown must still be approved by the House of Representatives, but that is considered virtually certain, before the measure is sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Ahead of the vote, federal agencies on Monday were in the midst of furloughing thousands of civil servants without pay and starting to curtail their operations at the start of a new workweek. The shutdown had started at Friday midnight after the Senate failed to adopt a House-approved stop-gap funding measure that extended through mid-February.

The stalemate roiled official Washington.

Before the vote, Trump attacked Democratic lawmakers in new Twitter comments, saying, “The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!” He contended that “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told CNN that the Trump administration wants “to find a pathway” for the young immigrants, many of whom only know the U.S. as their home country, to stay in the United States. But Short also said “a real security threat” remains on the southern U.S. border with Mexico, with Trump demanding funding for a wall to thwart further illegal immigration.

A new Trump political ad accused Democrats of being “complicit” in U.S. murders committed by illegal immigrants.

Late Sunday, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said Democratic and Republican lawmakers had “yet to reach an agreement on a path forward” linking the full reopening of the government to resolution of the deportation issue.

Earlier, in a Senate speech, he called the partial government closure the “Trump Shutdown,” contending that he offered the president funding for the wall, a key 2016 Trump campaign promise, but that the U.S. leader would not compromise on other immigration policy changes.

“He can’t take yes for an answer,” Schumer said of Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday, “We’re not going to start having negotiations about immigration reform until the government’s reopened. It’s pretty simple.”

The U.S. government has partially shut down on several occasions over lawmaking and funding disputes. The most recent till now was a 16-day shutdown in 2013 in a partisan deadlock over health care policy. About 850,000 federal workers were furloughed then.

 

Services that stop or continue during a federal shutdown vary. But federal research projects could be stalled, national parks and museums closed, tax questions left unanswered, processing of veterans’ disability applications delayed, and federal nutrition programs suspended, as was the case in 2013.

Senate lawmakers spent all day Sunday meeting and negotiating and looking for a way to end the impasse on immigration. McConnell called off a 1 a.m. Monday vote on reopening the government in favor of the vote at noon, Washington time.

With Republican and Democratic lawmakers blaming each other for the stalemate, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday also appeared to fault the White House for the immigration standoff, specifically hardline immigration Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

“Every time we have a proposal, it is only yanked back by staff members,” Graham said. “As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiation on immigration, we are going nowhere.”

Graham said Miller is out of the “mainstream” with his immigration views.

Sanders called Graham’s comments “a sad and desperate attempt…to tarnish a staffer.” She said Miller was not at the White House “to push his agenda,” but rather to support Trump’s immigration views.

 

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White House Defends Ad Calling Democrats ‘Complicit’ in Killings

The White House is defending a tough new ad by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign that says Democrats will be “complicit” in any killings committed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

The 30-second spot was released on Saturday’s anniversary of Trump’s inauguration and amid the government shutdown. Democrats are refusing to fund the government unless Republicans agree to protect some 700,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The ad highlights the Republican president’s pledge to build a border wall and tighten border security.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says national security is Trump’s top priority as president.

Sanders told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday that “it’s absolutely appropriate for the commander in chief to do everything he can to make sure he’s protecting our citizens.”

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Schumer: Democrats Will Vote to Reopen Government

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats in the chamber will vote to reopen the government, which has been partially shutdown for three days.

The vote is on funding the government through February 8.  It comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured opposition Democratic lawmakers that he would in the coming weeks allow a vote on protecting about 800,000 young illegal immigrants from deportation

Earlier, President Donald Trump attacked Democratic lawmakers in new Twitter comments, saying, “The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!” He contended that “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told CNN that the Trump administration wants “to find a pathway” for the young immigrants, many of whom only know the U.S. as their home country, to stay in the United States. But Short also said “a real security threat” remains on the southern U.S. border with Mexico, with Trump demanding funding for a wall to thwart further illegal immigration.

A new Trump political ad accuses Democrats of being “complicit” in U.S. murders committed by illegal immigrants.

At the same time, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said late Sunday that Democratic and Republican lawmaker had “yet to reach an agreement on a path forward” linking the full reopening of the government to resolution of the deportation issue.

‘Trump Shutdown’

Earlier, in a Senate speech, he called the partial government closure the “Trump Shutdown,” contending that he offered the president funding for the wall, a key 2016 Trump campaign promise, but that the U.S. leader would not compromise on other immigration policy changes.

“He can’t take yes for an answer,” Schumer said of Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, “We’re not going to start having negotiations about immigration reform until the government’s reopened. It’s pretty simple.”

The effect of the shutdown was relatively minimal over the weekend, but on Monday, federal agencies moved to furlough without pay thousands of workers considered to be non-essential. They halted some portions of their operations when no agreement was reached in the Senate on Sunday or in the early hours of Monday.

The U.S. government has partially shut down on several occasions over lawmaking and funding disputes. The most recent was a 16-day shutdown in 2013 in a partisan deadlock over health care policy. About 850,000 federal workers were furloughed then.

Services that stop or continue during a federal shutdown vary. But federal research projects could be stalled, national parks and museums closed, tax questions left unanswered, processing of veterans’ disability applications delayed, and federal nutrition programs suspended, as was the case in 2013.

Senate lawmakers spent all day Sunday meeting and negotiating and looking for a way to end the impasse on immigration that forced the government shutdown at midnight Friday. But it was unclear exactly how much progress had been made. Maine’s Susan Collins, a Republican moderate, told reporters a group of 22 of her colleagues were determined to find a way to resolve the conflict.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said there needs to be what he calls an “understanding” from Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that after a temporary funding bill is passed, the Senate would then tackle immigration as part of a long-term spending bill that extends to the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.

McConnell called off a 1 a.m. Monday vote on reopening the government in favor of the vote at noon, Washington time.

With Republican and Democratic lawmakers blaming each other for the stalemate, Graham on Sunday also appeared to fault the White House for the immigration standoff, specifically hardline immigration Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

“Every time we have a proposal, it is only yanked back by staff members,” Graham said. “As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiation on immigration, we are going nowhere.”

Graham said Miller is out of the “mainstream” with his immigration views. There has been no response so far from the White House on Graham’s comments.

Sanders called Graham’s comments “a sad and desperate attempt…to tarnish a staffer.” She said Miller was not at the White House “to push his agenda,” but rather to support Trump’s immigration views.

Pete Heinlein at the White House contributed to this report

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