Saturday, December 9, 2023

US Senate leaders have reached a deal on short-term spending to avoid a government shutdown

Days before the US government runs out of funds, the Senate introduced a bipartisan bill to avert the shutdown, but there is no guarantee it will pass the House of Representatives because a bloc of conservatives opposes it. . short-term financing.

The Senate bill would continue funding the government until November 17 and includes $6.2 billion in aid to Ukraine. Increasing funding for Ukraine could exacerbate tensions in the House of Representatives, as many conservative Republicans oppose sending more aid to the war-torn country. The bill also includes $6 billion for natural disasters.

The Pentagon has warned that a government shutdown could disrupt US military aid to Ukraine

Schumer said Tuesday: “We will continue funding the Government at current levels, maintaining our commitment to the security and humanitarian needs of Ukraine, while ensuring that those affected by natural disasters across the country begin receiving resources. what do you need”.

However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that funding for Ukraine should not be included in a short-term spending package, and instead should be a stand-alone bill.

“Is it in the CR? My answer is no, it should be discussed in a supplement,” said the California Republican, referring to a continuing resolution, or CR, which is a short-term funding patch.

“I don’t understand that when all these people are talking across the country about the challenges facing the United States right now, people are going to say, ‘We should go to Ukraine and ignore what’s happening on our border.’ “This is the wrong approach,” he said.

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McCarthy did not comment on whether he would present this week, before the deadline, a bipartisan stopgap measure approved by the Senate to avoid a shutdown.

Now that the Senate has revealed its own stopgap measure, it still needs to be approved by the Chamber before it can be sent to the House of Representatives and any senator can delay its approval under a strict time limit.

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Meanwhile, lacking the GOP votes to pass a stopgap bill, McCarthy turned his attention earlier this week to an effort to advance a series of spending bills, including those for Defense and National Security. .

The passage of these bills won’t prevent a weekend shutdown, but with conservatives demanding passage of full-year funding bills, McCarthy hopes the momentum behind the measures will create enough opponents would support a Republican stopgap bill. However, it is not clear that even the bills can advance amid deep divisions within the House Republican conference.

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McCarthy is expected to face another test of his leadership on Tuesday, as House GOP leaders have indicated they plan to hold a rule-of-thumb vote to advance the measures. The long-awaited vote comes after hardliners last week derailed a similar vote on a defense bill, much to the embarrassment of House GOP leaders. All eyes will be on the House to see if the scene repeats itself.

On Tuesday, McCarthy also criticized hardliners who defied the party last week and did not support a procedural motion to continue. Asked if he was confident they would fall in line this week, he criticized their efforts as counterproductive. “I don’t understand why anyone would stop the ability to secure the border, if they want to stand with President Biden keeping the border open I think that’s the wrong position.”

McCarthy has indicated that if the House is able to pass the series of spending bills he has lined up for consideration this week, then he will put a stopgap measure on the floor that includes border provisions.

“If we pass these four projects, that will be 72% of all discretionary spending. I will also present this week a temporary resolution that protects our border,” he told reporters.

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McCarthy continued to insist that shutting down the government was the worst option and warned his conference of the dangers of that strategy. “I don’t think the closures will help,” he said.

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The Senate is set to hold an initial vote Tuesday afternoon to advance the House-approved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which could be used as a legislative vehicle for the Senate’s version of a stopgap bill to avoid a shutdown.

Extending interim funding could be included in the FAA bill, as the FAA’s current operating authority is set to expire at the end of September, creating another looming deadline for lawmakers to act.

A shutdown has far-reaching ramifications across the country. If that happens, many government operations will stop, while some services considered “essential” will continue.

Government operations and services that continue during a shutdown are activities deemed necessary to protect public safety and national security or deemed critical for other reasons. Examples of services that have continued through previous shutdowns include border protection, federal law enforcement, and air traffic control.

The White House on Tuesday highlighted the “disastrous consequences” of a shutdown that would harm national security, pointing to 1.3 million active duty military personnel who will not be paid until the shutdown ends and the suspension of civilian employees. of the Department of Defense.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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