The House of Representatives and the Senate of USA They plan to take wildly divergent paths Tuesday in a high-stakes battle over spending, just five days before a deadline that could force several areas of the government to shut down for the fourth time in a decade.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is scheduled to vote on a stopgap funding bill with bipartisan support that would keep the federal government running after current money runs out at midnight Saturday, giving negotiators more time to reach agree on spending figures for the entire year.
Meanwhile, the Republican president of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthyaiming to stem a rebellion by the toughest members of his own caucus, will press ahead with four full-year spending bills that reflect conservative priorities and have no chance of becoming law.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed and a wide range of services, from economic data releases to nutrition benefits, will be suspended starting Sunday if the two sides do not reach a consensus.
Since 1981, Congress has shut down the government 14 times, although most of those interruptions have only lasted a day or two. Although disruptive, they have not had a significant impact on the world’s largest economy.
However, Moody’s warned on Monday that a partial shutdown this time would have negative repercussions for the US government’s AAA credit rating, as it would highlight how political polarization is worsening the country’s fiscal situation.
Democratic President Joe Biden and McCarthy had tried to avoid a shutdown this year when they agreed in May, at the end of a standoff over the federal debt ceiling, to $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. .
McCarthy’s right-wing lawmakers have since rejected the figure, demanding $120 billion in cuts, even though more moderate members of their party, including top Senate Republicans, have expressed support for the agreed-upon plan.
This only represents a fraction of the total US budget, which will reach US$6.4 trillion for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are not considering cuts to popular benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are expected to grow dramatically as the population ages.
Republicans control the House by a slim 221-212 majority and have few votes to spare, especially since some hardline Republicans have threatened to remove McCarthy from leadership if he relies on Democratic votes to pass legislation.
Biden himself has asked House Republicans to respect the agreement with McCarthy.
“Just a few months ago, the Speaker of the House and I agreed on Government spending levelsBiden said. “Now, a small group of extremist House Republicans do not want to honor that agreement, and everyone in America could face paying a price for it.”
Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, said Monday he was “100%” sure that Congress could not keep the Government open.
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