| 20 June 2024, Thursday |

Republicans make shutdown imminent after rejecting bill to fund US government

On Friday, September 29th, Republican members of the United States House of Representatives rejected a bill put forth by their leader that sought temporary funding for the government. This rejection ensures that federal agencies will experience a partial shutdown, commencing this Sunday.
The House, in a 232-198 vote, rejected a measure which would have extended the government funding by 30 days and stopped the agencies from shutting down.

The bill, if passed, would have restricted immigration and slashed spending of the government. After the bill’s rejection, the Republicans, who control the chamber by 221-212, are now left without a clear strategy to avoid a shutdown which would close national parks, stop salaries for around 4 million federal workers and place everything from financial oversight to scientific research, if the funding is not extended beyond 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Sunday.

After the voting on the bill, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stated that the chamber may pass a funding extension without the policies of conservatives which had alienated Democrats. However, he did not speak about what would happen next. The chamber is likely to conduct more voting on Saturday.
“It’s only a failure if you quit,” he said while speaking to reporters. It was unclear whether the Senate would act in time. On Saturday afternoon, the chamber was due to take up a bipartisan bill which would fund the government through November 17, however, procedural hurdles can delay a final vote until Tuesday.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday said that a government shutdown would “undermine” the economic progress of the country by idling programmes for small businesses and can also delay the improvements to be incorporated into major infrastructure.

The shutdown, if happens, will be the fourth in a decade and will take place just four months after the US government faced a similar standoff when it was on the verge of defaulting on its $31 trillion debt.
United States President Joe Biden said that a shutdown can take a heavy toll on the armed forces.

“We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach. It’s an absolute dereliction of duty,” said Biden, a Democrat, at a retirement ceremony for Mark Milley, a senior general.
McCarthy had wished for the win of the border provisions of the Republican spending bill, which so far defied efforts to avert a shutdown.

By the end of the voting, 21 hardline House Republicans extended support to Democrats for defeating the measure. “There are members who don’t care whether the government stays open or it shuts down. The ones that I believe are OK with a shutdown have never been through a shutdown,” said Republican Representative Kat Cammack, while speaking to reporters.

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