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US freezes free-trade talks with EU

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US freezes free-trade talks with EU
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US officials will not travel to Brussels next week for talks because of the US government shutdown.

Washington and the EU were due to hold a second round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would be the world’s biggest free-trade deal.

The US government shutdown continues into its fifth day.

US President Barack Obama said:

“If Speaker Boehner will simply allow that vote to take place, we can end this shutdown, a whole bunch of families, not just here in Washington but all across the country, will have the certainty that a pay cheque will be coming, that they’ll be able to make their mortgage”.

Nerves and sometimes tempers frayed on Friday after several weeks of long sessions of congress.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives said:

“This isn’t some damn game.. All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness – reopen the government – and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare.”

The crowd rallied on the grass in front of the House side of the Capitol as a political stalemate over the U.S government shutdown continued in congress.

One furloughed federal worker, Natasha Rozier, told euronews:

“They should give up their paychecks. You know, they should …know what it feels like not to have the money to provide for your family, to be able to put food on the table, to be able to put gas in your car.”

Nicola Netto-White, the wife of a furloughed federal worker said:

“I’m very angry and disgusted right now that our family is being held hostage by their political whims.”

The shutdown began on Tuesday when the Republican-led House of Representatives refused to approve a bill funding the government unless it included measures designed to delay or defund key provisions of Obama’s signature legislation, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which are now being implemented.

Obama again appealed to Boehner to bring a “clean” funding bill – without reference to the health reforms – to a vote in the House, where many Democrats believe it could pass with a combination of Democrats and a few of the majority Republicans.

While the stalemate continues, hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain unpaid and the free-trade negotiations to create new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic remain on hold.