Title: U.S. Government Shutdown Looms as House Speaker Rejects Funding Bill
In a move that has increased the likelihood of a government shutdown, Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has rejected a stopgap funding bill in the Senate. The Senate plan, which received bipartisan support, aimed to fund the government through Nov. 17, allowing more time for lawmakers to agree on funding levels for the full fiscal year starting from October 1.
Despite being backed by Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, McCarthy argued that there is insufficient support in the House for the Senate plan. The House is currently working on passing several full-year funding bills. However, even if these bills are signed into law, they may not be enough to avert a shutdown.
Concerned about the potential negative consequences, President Joe Biden has urged Republicans in the House to fund the government. He highlighted the potential impact on vital work, science, health, and border security. Moody’s and Fitch, two prominent ratings agencies, have warned that a shutdown could harm the federal government’s credit-worthiness.
Both executive branch agencies and Congress are making preparations for a potential shutdown. This includes identifying which federal workers would continue working without pay and who would be furloughed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes a shutdown, emphasizing the detrimental effects on agencies like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
McCarthy is facing pressure from hardline members within his party who objected to a spending deal negotiated with Biden. Some have even threatened to remove McCarthy from his leadership role if he passes a spending bill that necessitates Democratic support. Consequently, it remains uncertain whether there will be enough votes in the House to pass a proposed stopgap measure put forward by House Republicans.
This potential shutdown threat arises months after the nation narrowly avoided defaulting on its debt, a situation that could have had significant implications for the financial markets. Notably, hardline Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have downplayed the risks associated with a shutdown and, in some instances, openly advocated for one.
With the deadline for a funding agreement quickly approaching, the future of the government’s operations hangs in the balance. The nation waits to see if lawmakers can reach a resolution that averts a shutdown and prevents further economic upheaval.
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