What it is and what it entails

What it is and what it entails

Possibly starting this weekend A government shutdown in the United States is becoming more likelyThis is after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told his Republican colleagues in the House that he will not put to a vote the partisan resolution for the temporary exercise that the Senate is preparing to vote on to avoid a government shutdown.

What is closure?

The word, which has now become familiar in American political jargon, refers to a shutdown, the obstruction of government activities due to the failure to approve the various spending bills that make up the US budget by October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year. .

If the deadline is reached – which this year will arrive at midnight on Saturday the 30th – without this approval, the US government will be forced to completely or partially close its work, depending on the number of spending bills that have been approved. Typically, to avoid reaching this point, Congress passes a “continuing resolution,” which is our equivalent of a temporary practice that allows us to keep federal agencies funded and functioning until a budget is approved. But barring last-minute surprises, no agreement will be reached this year in Congress even on this resolution. The basis for this radical measure is the Constitution’s provision that states that the Treasury Department may not spend money without a law permitting it. Moreover, the Anti-Deficiency Act—the first version of which dates back to 1870—requires federal agencies to cease operations, with some exceptions, in the absence of an authorization act from Congress.

What it involves

Therefore, with the shutdown, the federal government must halt all non-essential activities until spending bills are approved. Each federal agency must decide what its core activities are, and Congress will also have to decide what its employees are. There are three exceptions under the Anti-Deficiency Act: The government will be able to continue to fund operations to protect life and property and maintain the employment of all officials involved in the constitutional process, that is, the president, his staff, and members of Congress.

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Finally, all military personnel, many federal law enforcement officers, and federally funded hospital employees are considered essential. Obviously in cooperation with traffic controllers and TSA agents.

The reality is that these federal employees, while continuing to work during the shutdown, will not get paid; they will not get paid until after the shutdown ends. While employees deemed non-essential will be furloughed without pay, although a law passed in 2019, after the last lockdown, will ensure they will also receive their salaries once the lockdown ends.

The White House is preparing

In light of the seemingly insurmountable gridlock in Congress, the White House has asked federal agencies to be prepared to notify their employees of government funding situations that could result in them being placed on unpaid leave sometime next week. And Various agencies are already preparing lists of essential workers who will continue to work without receiving pay.

Biden: “It would be disastrous”

“It would be disastrous for us, especially if it was in the long term,” Joe Biden said about the potential shutdown during a fundraising reception last night in San Francisco, recalling that “we reached an agreement” with Republicans last June, when the crisis was defused. Debt to set federal spending limits for this year. “Now they come and say they don’t want it,” he added.

In the closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers, McCarthy floated the idea of ​​submitting his own proposal for a temporary exercise and a vote on it, repealing measures in the Senate proposal, including more than $6 billion in aid to Ukraine and $6 billion for victims of domestic natural disasters and adding funding for border security. So the text – which could never have bipartisan support or even a majority of Republican senators who support Kiev – will be sent to the Senate when midnight on Saturday comes and it is time to close.

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Previous 2013

During the 16 days of the partial shutdown in 2013, about 850,000 of 2.1 million federal employees were furloughed, according to the Office of Management and Budget. While the last closure lasted five weeks, between December 2018 and January 2019, with 800,000 employees stranded, and cost the American economy 11 billion, according to Congressional estimates, 3 billion permanently.

Its effects on citizens

Regarding the effects on citizens, the closure causes consequences for all public services of federal agencies, with parks and gardens managed by national parks closed, passport offices closed, new staff hired, and research conducted in federal laboratories. . However, there is no impact on postal services and social security programs, such as Social Security, pensions, Medicare, and Medicare programs that are funded on a permanent basis. If payments continue, the number of staff responsible for administering them may decrease, and thus there may be harassment.

It all depends on the duration: “Most citizens won’t notice the difference” unless they plan a vacation in a national park, Maya McGinias, chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, explained to CBS News. “But the longer this goes on, the worse things get,” he adds.

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