Monday, December 11, 2023

Congress averted a US government shutdown hours before the deadline

A shutdown occurs if Congress fails to pass some type of funding legislation signed into law by the president. Lawmakers must pass 12 different spending bills to fund agencies across the government, but the process is taking time. They often resort to passing a temporary extension, called a continuing resolution or CR, to allow the government to continue operating.
With no funding legislation in place, federal agencies must stop all non-essential work and not send paychecks for as long as the shutdown lasts.
Although employees considered essential to public safety such as air traffic controllers and law enforcement officers are still required to report to work, other federal employees have been furloughed. Under the 2019 law, those workers are set to receive backpay once the funding problem is resolved.


Government funding ends on October 1, the start of the federal budget year. A shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress does not pass a funding plan that the president can sign into law. The House and Senate avoided it by approving a temporary funding bill that keeps federal agencies open until Nov. 17, setting up another potential crisis if they fail to more fully fund the government. before.
There are fears that a potential shutdown could last for weeks.


Millions of federal workers will face delayed paychecks, including most of the nearly 2 million military personnel and more than 2 million civilian workers nationwide.

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Nearly 60% of the federal workforce is housed in the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

While active-duty troops and military reservists will continue to work, more than half of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce — roughly 440,000 people — will be furloughed.

Across federal agencies, workers are stationed in all 50 states and have direct interaction with taxpayers — from Transportation Security Administration agents who handle airport security to Postal Service workers who delivers the mail.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said new training for air traffic controllers should be halted and an additional 1,000 controllers in between training should be furloughed.

People applying for government services such as clinical medical tests, firearms permits and passports may see delays in the event of a shutdown.

Head Start programs that serve more than 10,000 poor children will immediately lose federal funding. National parks will close.

Some federal offices have had to close or face reduced hours in a shutdown.
Businesses closely connected to the federal government, such as federal contractors or tourist services around national parks, may see disruptions and downturns.

Lawmakers have warned that a shutdown could devastate financial markets. Goldman Sachs estimates that a shutdown would reduce economic growth by 0.2% each week it lasts, but growth will return after the government reopens.

Some say that any disruption in government services will have far-reaching effects as it will shake the confidence of the government to carry out its basic duties.

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The president and members of Congress will continue to work and be paid. Any member of their staff who is not considered essential will be furloughed.

The Supreme Court will not be affected by a short shutdown because it could take away a pot of money provided for court fees, including filing cases and other documents, a court spokesman said. that Patricia McCabe said.
Even with the longer shutdown, the entire judiciary will not shut down, and decisions about which activities will continue will be made by each court across the country. The judges and all federal judges will continue to be paid because of the constitutional ban on reducing judges’ salaries during their tenure, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Funding for the three special counsels appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland would not be affected by a government shutdown because it is being paid for through a permanent, indefinite appropriation, an area exempt from those closing the past.

That means that the two federal cases against Donald Trump, the former president, as well as the case against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, will not be interrupted. Trump has demanded that Republicans defund the prosecutions against him as a condition of defunding the government, declaring it their “last chance” to act.


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Prior to the 1980s, the loss of government funding did not result in the shutdown of government operations. But then-Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, in a series of legal opinions in 1980 and 1981, argued that government agencies cannot legally act during a funding gap.

Federal officials have since operated under an understanding that they can make exceptions for functions that are “essential” for public safety and constitutional duties.

Since 1976, there have been 22 funding gaps, 10 of which have resulted in layoffs. But most of the significant shutdowns have occurred since Bill Clinton’s presidency, when Newt Gingrich was Speaker. R-Ga., and his conservative House majority are demanding budget cuts.

The longest government shutdown occurred between 2018 and 2019 when President Trump and congressional Democrats engaged in a standoff over his demand for funding for a border wall. The shutdown lasted 35 days, through the holiday season, but was also a partial government shutdown as Congress passed some appropriations bills to fund parts of the government.


Congress is responsible for funding the government. The House and Senate must agree to fund the government, and the president must sign the bill into law.

Congress generally relies on a continuing resolution to provide stopgap money to keep government offices open at current levels while budget negotiations continue. Money for pressing national priorities, such as emergency aid for victims of natural disasters, is usually included in a short-term bill.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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