Friday, December 8, 2023

The United States, how many hours away from a “shutdown” that seems inevitable: when will it start and what services will be affected

WASHINGTON.- The United States is a few hours away from the paralysis of the federal government due to the lack of a budget agreement in which Democratic President Joe Biden and the Republican opposition blame each other. Barring a last-minute deal, which seems unlikely, the world’s largest economy will operate in slow motion from Sunday: 1.5 million civil servants will be without pay, air traffic will be disrupted and many public services the uncared for.

Neither the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, nor the House of Representatives, which is led by the Republicans, has yet been able to approve a bill to extend the federal budget that ends at 1 on Sunday time. in Argentina.

This budget crisis has a direct impact on the war in Ukraine: the White House initially requested that the budget approved by representatives include $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for kyiv.

Aware of the political problems of his great American ally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went to Congress last week to try to convince Washington to help him cross the “finish line” against Russia. But some Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump refused to open any new aid to Kyiv, believing that these funds should be allocated to the immigration crisis in the United States.

That group of conservative lawmakers on Friday blocked a short-term financing bill presented by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, of the same party, seeking to avoid paralysis.

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The 21 hardline lawmakers, led by Matt Gaetz, voted with Democrats against McCarthy’s proposal, which provides cuts of nearly 30% and strict border security measures, because they consider it not enough. “There are no winners in a government shutdown,” said McCarthy, who still faces impeachment threats from hardliners in his party.

On Friday, Biden attacked Republicans, accusing them of leading the United States into a shutdown that would affect Defense Department employees and military families. ceremony by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.

These are the main keys to understanding “closure”:

What is a government shutdown or shutdown?

A government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to approve a fiscal plan signed into law by the president. Lawmakers were supposed to approve 12 spending bills to fund agencies across the government, but the process took a long time.

Government funding ends on October 1, the start of the federal budget year. The shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress fails to approve the fiscal plan. They often approve temporary extensions – called continuing resolutions or CRs – to allow the government to continue operating.

If a budget is not implemented, federal agencies stop all non-essential work and do not send paychecks for the duration of the shutdown. 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 remain on leave. Under the 2019 law, those workers will receive back pay once the budget issue is resolved.

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Who will it affect?

Millions of federal workers face delays in their paychecks as the government shuts down, including most of the approximately 2 million military personnel and more than 2 million civilian workers nationwide. country. For many workers, the first payday they will miss is October 13.

While active-duty troops and Army reservists will continue to work, more than half of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce — about 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.

Aside from federal workers, a shutdown could have far-reaching effects on government services. People applying for government services such as clinical medical tests, firearms permits and passports may experience delays. Head Start programs that serve more than 10,000 poor children will immediately lose federal funds

National parks, such as Yosemite or Yellowstone, will close on Monday, October 2 when the government begins a shutdown, and the National Park Service said its services will not be available. The travel industry could lose $140 million a day in a shutdown, according to the US Travel Industry Association.

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Severe disruption of air traffic is also expected as controllers and officers of the transport security agency will no longer receive their salaries.

The president and members of Congress will continue to work and be paid. However, any member of your staff who is not considered essential can leave.

The Supreme Court, which begins its new session on Monday, will not be affected by a short shutdown because it will get money from court fees, such as fees for filing cases and other documents, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said. The rest of the federal judiciary will also operate normally for at least the first two weeks of October, said Peter Kaplan, a spokesman for the judiciary.

Has this happened before?

Since 1976, there have been 22 funding shortages, 10 of which caused layoffs. But most of the major shutdowns have occurred since Bill Clinton’s presidency, when House leader Newt Gingrich and his conservative majority demanded budget cuts. The longest government shutdown occurred between 2018 and 2019, when President Trump and congressional Democrats began a confrontation because the president sought funding for a border wall with Mexico. The shutdown lasted for 35 days, during the Christmas season, but it was also only a partial shutdown because Congress approved some projects to fund parts of the government.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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