Locked down - on U.S. shutdown: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Locked Down - on U.S. Shutdown: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Locked Down - on U.S. Shutdown THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Last week, the 19th federal government shutdown in U.S. history went into force. If previous occasions are any indication, this shutdown will also lead to the furlough of many hundreds of thousands of government workers, closure of national parks with a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and a possible overall macroeconomic cost of several billions of dollars in terms of productivity loss associated with the cessation of multiple public services. This encore is entirely preventable and the seismic payment default can be traced back to one inescapable reality in Washington
congressional dysfunction stemming from bitterly partisan politicking. A federal shutdown occurs when lawmakers fail to agree on a spending bill, and cannot even sign off on a stopgap funding measure that might keep the government machinery humming for a few more months. In this case, the bill in question would have helped tide over a looming fiscal gap at least until the middle of February. Yet that did not happen, because Republicans refused to compromise on a hardline approach on immigration policy, specifically on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era clemency policy for foreign-born children of U.S.-based undocumented workers. That policy was ended in September 2017 when President Donald Trump revoked his predecessor’s executive order to protect these children, the so-called DREAMers, from deportation. This apparently rattled Democratic lawmakers to the point where they were willing to make a stopgap budget deal, contingent on Congress agreeing to legislation to shield nearly 700,000 of these law-abiding youngsters from removal.
With dark clouds on Capitol Hill overshadowing the first anniversary of Mr. Trump’s presidency, he has reiterated his call for strong border security and a crackdown on “illegal immigrants”. Interestingly, a recent CNN poll suggested 84% of Americans want DACA extended. But a government shutdown is likely to cut both ways, hurting the prospects of those on both sides of the aisle seeking re-election in the November 2018 mid-term election. Voters may well consider Democrats to be obstructionist, or as putting undocumented workers ahead of national security. And Republicans may lose votes for failing to keep the government working despite controlling the Senate, House of Representatives and the White House. Regardless of whom wins in that election, the debate on immigration reform will continue. Too much is at stake for not only the nearly 11.3 million undocumented workers but also the nearly 1.5 million temporary foreign workers, among whom are 500,000 to 700,000 H-1B visa holders, the majority of them from India. For, when Congress finally transcends its partisan biases and legislates a comprehensive immigration reform package, it will likely introduce a revised policy for each of the visa categories.

 LEARN VOCABULARY FROM THE HINDU EDITORIAL 

Shutdown
  • Meaning: A closure of a factory or system, typically a temporary closure due to a fault or for maintenance.
  • Example: “engines should be allowed to cool down between a shutdown and the next start”
  • Synonyms: Closure, Close

Indication
  • Meaning: A sign or piece of information that indicates something.
  • Example: “the visit was an indication of the improvement in relations between the countries”
  • Synonyms: Sign, Mark

Furlough
  • Meaning: Leave of absence, especially that granted to a member of the services or a missionary.
  • Example: “a civil servant home on furlough”

Macroeconomic
  • Meaning: Relating to the branch of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.
  • Example: “macroeconomic policies”

Cessation
  • Meaning: The fact or process of ending or being brought to an end.
  • Example: “the cessation of hostilities”
  • Synonyms: End, Termination
  • Antonyms: Start, Resumption

Encore
  • Meaning: A repeated or additional performance of an item at the end of a concert, as called for by an audience.
  • Example: “everybody got up on stage for the final encore”
  • Synonyms: Curtain, Repetition

Seismic
  • Meaning: Of enormous proportions or effect.
  • Example: “there are seismic pressures threatening American society”

Dysfunction
  • Meaning: Disruption of normal social relations.
  • Example: “inner-city dysfunction”

Stemming
  • Meaning: Originate in or be caused by.
  • Example: “many of the universities’ problems stem from rapid expansion”
  • Synonyms: Derive from
  • Antonyms: Cause

Bitterly
  • Meaning: In an angry, hurt, or resentful way.
  • Example: “passengers complained bitterly about grand promises made by the company”

Politicking
  • Meaning: Engage in political activity.
  • Example: “the cumbersome bureaucracy and politicking of the European Community”

Sign off
  • Meaning: Conclude a letter, broadcast, or other message.
  • Example: “he signed off with a few words of advice”

Stopgap
  • Meaning: A temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need.
  • Example: “transplants are only a stopgap until more sophisticated alternatives can work”
  • Synonyms: Expedient, Makeshift
  • Antonyms: Permanent

Humming
  • Meaning: Be in a state of great activity.
  • Example: “the house was humming with preparations for the dance”
  • Synonyms: Vibrate, Bustle
  • Antonyms: Quiet

Looming
  • Meaning: (of an event regarded as threatening) seem about to happen.
  • Example: “there is a crisis looming”
  • Synonyms: Threaten, Menace

Hardline
  • Meaning: Uncompromising; strict.
  • Example: “a hard-line party activist”
  • Synonyms: Uncompromising, Extreme
  • Antonyms: Moderate

Clemency
  • Meaning: Mercy; lenience.
  • Example: “an appeal for clemency”
  • Synonyms: Mercy, Mildness
  • Antonyms: Strictness, Ruthlessness

Undocumented
  • Meaning: Not having the appropriate legal document or license.
  • Example: “undocumented immigrants”

Revoked
  • Meaning: Officially cancel (a decree, decision, or promise).
  • Example: “the men appealed and the sentence was revoked”
  • Synonyms: Cancel, Repeal
  • Antonyms: Introduce, Enact

Rattled
  • Meaning: Make (someone) nervous, worried, or irritated.
  • Example: “she turned quickly, rattled by his presence”
  • Synonyms: Disconcert, Disturb

Law-abiding
  • Meaning: Obedient to the laws of society.
  • Example: “a law-abiding citizen”
  • Synonyms: Well behaved, Lawful
  • Antonyms: Lawless, Criminal

Overshadowing
  • Meaning: Be more impressive or successful than (another person).
  • Example: “he was always overshadowed by his brilliant elder brother”
  • Synonyms: Outshine, Surpass

Reiterated
  • Meaning: Say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity.
  • Example: “she reiterated that the government would remain steadfast in its support”
  • Synonyms: Repeat, Restate

Crackdown
  • Meaning: A series of severe measures to restrict undesirable or illegal people or behaviour.
  • Example: “a crackdown on car crime”
  • Synonyms: Clampdown, Elimination

Prospects
  • Meaning: Chances or opportunities for success or wealth.
  • Example: “the poor prospects for the steel industry”
  • Synonyms: Possibility, Catch

Obstructionist (derived word-Obstructionism)
  • Meaning: The act of intentionally stopping or slowing down an official process.
  • Synonyms: Unhelpful, Uncooperative

Transcends
  • Meaning: Surpass (a person or achievement).
  • Example: “he doubts that he will ever transcend Shakespeare”
  • Synonyms: Surpass, Exceed

Comprehensive
  • Meaning: Of large content or scope; wide-ranging.
  • Example: “a comprehensive collection of photographs”
  • Synonyms: Inclusive, Complete
  • Antonyms: Partial, Selective
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