It’s getting closer Closing time To the American government. The new crisis, if an agreement is not reached at the last minute, will begin at midnight today, Saturday, September 30 (USA). A partial but widespread shutdown of the administration, of all activities deemed non-essential, to conclude the fiscal year, would have to be avoided by approving a new budget approved by a divided and polarized Congress. The United States has fallen prey to a predicament that threatens to deal new blows to US credibility, with fiscal dysfunction that could once again call into question the country’s debt ratings and damage the economy.
Turning point in the US House of Representatives: Passing McCarthy’s proposal to avoid a shutdown
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has put forward a motion to avoid a midnight shutdown today, 6 a.m. in Italy, and buy another 45 days to reach an agreement on the spending bill. The proposal was passed in the House of Representatives thanks to the votes of Democrats. Now the measure must be voted on in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority. In the buffer law, which Democrats voted for by a large majority, there is no aid to Ukraine. This was a crucial point for Joe Biden’s party, which had clearly finally capitulated. The temporary measure was approved by 335 votes in favor and 91 votes against. The only Democratic congressman to vote against it was Mike Quigley of Illinois.
Road to closure
President Joe Biden denounced Republican extremism as the reason for the impending shutdown. Washington is in danger of being paralyzed first and foremost by the rebellion of an influential group of ultra-conservative populists who have grown up under Donald Trump. They have effectively disavowed a bipartisan agreement that appeared to be able to avert a budget fight that spiraled out of control in the run-up to the 2024 election. The agreement between Republican and Democratic leaders and the White House last May had suspended the maximum budget cap. The US debt ceiling is in effect turning into a spending freeze next year. Now radical Republican representatives in the House of Representatives have raised the bar: They are demanding deep spending cuts and a series of other measures that many observers see as ideological and provocative, in a continuing escalation. They also voted to cut Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s salary to $1, describing him as incompetent.
Slap from the right to McCarthy
Their position has made reaching an agreement impossible even within the ranks of their party, which has even a slim majority among representatives: on Friday they even refused to vote on a temporary budget that would keep the government open for another 30 days proposed by the Republican Speaker of the House. Same Kevin McCarthy, who had 30% discounts on many shows. The defection of about twenty representatives led to the defeat of this measure. The rebels said they only wanted to vote in favor of more ambitious and stringent annual budget laws, and not provide new aid to Ukraine. Although the stopgap measure was destined to be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate as unacceptable and harsh, the defeat in the House represents a harsh repudiation of McCarthy and a sign of the tense and chaotic climate in the Republican Party. Republican Congressman from New York, Mike Lawler, described one of the extremist leaders, Matt Gaetz, as a “charlatan.” McCarthy is still trying to propose a shorter funding measure, for just 14 days.
The effect of the lockdown depends on its duration. A few days and it will be contained; Weeks and it will spread like wildfire, reducing GDP. It will see hundreds of thousands of employees in a wide range of ministries and services suspended from work without pay. The 1.3 million soldiers will remain in service, but in turn without pay, and will not recover until the paralysis ends. Of the 800,000 civilians working in the Pentagon, 200,000 will work without pay, and the rest will be suspended. Across government, 2.1 million employees will be affected by the closure as well as 4 million temporary employees. Some businesses will be closed entirely, such as national parks. But also assistance programs for the poor and destitute, including 7 million women and children, and nursery and meal services for the elderly. Others will be reduced. Among the services that will remain operational are pensions and health care for the elderly and the poor. In public health, 42% of employees will stop working due to lack of resources, and 80% at the National Institute of Health will stop research activities.
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