Two thousand federal transportation workers will be furloughed without pay on Monday, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.
Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.
The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that also expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans.
Bunning objected to the $10 billion measure, saying it would add to the budget deficit. He didn’t immediately respond to a request Sunday for comment.
The impasse has provided the administration with an opening to excoriate Republicans for allowing popular programs to run out, even if only for a short time.
“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the Senate’s second-ranking Republican leader, told “Fox News Sunday” that he expects GOP lawmakers will vote to extend unemployment benefits this week.
Furloughs will affect employees at the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
LaHood said construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.
Among the construction sites where work will be halted: the $36 million replacement of the Humpback Bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Virginia; $15 million in bridge construction and stream rehabilitation in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and the $8 million resurfacing of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
‘The president isn’t above the law’: Supreme Court expected to rule on two key Trump cases on Thursday
Can Donald Trump refuse to hand over his financial records to Congress and New York prosecutors simply because he is president of the United States? The Supreme Court will rule Thursday on two related cases to answer this, with potentially widespread political implications.
The decision by the nine justices could lift the veil on Trump's finances ahead of the November 3 election.
Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.
Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.
Australia offers safe haven to Hong Kongers, sparking China fury
Australia offered pathways to permanent residency for thousands of people from Hong Kong on Thursday in response to China's crackdown on dissent, drawing a furious reply from Beijing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was suspending its extradition agreement with the city and, in addition to extending the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers already in the country, threw open the door to thousands more wanting to start a new life Down Under.
Morrison said the decisions were taken in response to China's imposition last week of a tough new security law in Hong Kong, which he said "constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances" for the semi-autonomous territory.
‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera missing, feared drowned
"Glee" star Naya Rivera is missing and feared drowned at a California lake, local officials said, with rescuers to continue a search for her on Thursday.
The Ventura County Sheriff's office earlier tweeted it was looking for a "possible drowning victim" at the lake, and said a dive team was being deployed to the area.
Rivera, 33, is best known for her role as high school cheerleader Santana Lopez in "Glee", the TV series that she starred in for six seasons.
She rented a boat on Wednesday to take her four-year-old son onto Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, local media cited the County Sheriff as saying.