U.S. Congress faces tight deadline to avert government shutdown

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.26 - 2023 2:39 PM CET

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
U.S. Congress faces tight deadline to avert government shutdown

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As the clock ticks down, the U.S. Congress is grappling with a high-stakes spending battle that could result in a government shutdown. The Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House are on divergent paths, each with their own plans to address the looming crisis.

According to Reuters The Senate is pushing for a stopgap funding bill with bipartisan support, while the House is pursuing a more conservative agenda that stands little chance of becoming law.

The Senate is aiming to pass a temporary funding bill that would extend the government's operating budget beyond the current deadline, which expires at midnight on Saturday. This would give negotiators more time to agree on a full-year spending plan. The bill has garnered bipartisan support and aims to prevent a shutdown that would furlough hundreds of thousands of federal workers and suspend a wide range of services.

On the other hand, Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the Republican-led House, is pushing for four full-year spending bills that reflect conservative priorities. These bills are unlikely to become law but are aimed at appeasing hardline members of his own caucus. The House's approach has been criticized for its impracticality, especially given the tight deadline and the risk of a government shutdown.

If an agreement is not reached, the impact would be far-reaching. Services like economic data releases and nutrition benefits would be suspended. Even the National Zoo in Washington would have to cancel its farewell party for three giant pandas returning to China. Moody's has warned that a shutdown could negatively affect the U.S. government's AAA credit rating, highlighting the worsening political polarization in the country.

With only a few days left to act, the pressure is mounting for both chambers to find a solution that will avert a government shutdown.

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