The States

Last-minute talks to avert US govt shutdown

Donald Trump and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have held last-minute talks to avert a US government shutdown, with Mr Schumer accusing Republicans of being "paralysed and inept".

The discussions came amid a stalemate in Washington over legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House have blamed each other for the possible government shutdown, which would see vital services halted and federal workers not paid.

Mr Trump phoned Mr Schumer to invite him to the White House to try to come to an agreement before the midnight deadline.

Image:The President cancelled his weekend trip to Florida

Democrats in the Senate have served notice that they will debate a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.

"They're not talking to us. They're totally paralysed and inept. There's no one to negotiate with," said New York senator Mr Schumer on Friday as he entered his office.

Republicans argue that it is the Democrats holding the government hostage over demands to protect "dreamer" immigrants brought to the country as children and now living in the US illegally.

The White House has dubbed the impending action as the "Schumer shutdown", with officials saying the President has been working to avert it.

Chuck Schumer praised senator McCain for voting against his party
Image:Mr Schumer called the Republicans "inept"

With the potential shutdown looming, Mr Trump cancelled his planned weekend trip to Florida where he was due to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Congress must act by midnight on Friday or the government will shut down.

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In such an event, food inspections, federal law enforcement, airport security checks, and other vital services would continue, as would Social Security, other federal benefit programs and military operations.

But most federal workers won't be paid.

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