The US Congress is expected to avoid a frightening last-minute “shutdown” on Thursday. The Senate is expected to approve some kind of emergency budget to prevent government services from running out of money after midnight, US media write.
The budget proposal must be approved quickly as the current fiscal year ends on Thursday. So Congress, the United States parliament, must again authorize government spending. If this fails, the consequences will be dire: salaries can no longer be paid and some government services will have to close.
Such political crises are more common in the United States, where conflicts between Democrats and Republicans can paralyze decision-making. The longest shutdown lasted 35 days, occurring in 2018 and 2019, when President Donald Trump argued with Congress over funds to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Then the officials had to sell their possessions online to pay their bills.
You probably won’t get that far this time. On Thursday, Republican Party Chairman Mitch McConnell predicted that the Senate would pass the budget proposal. His Democratic counterpart Chuck Schumer earlier confirmed that a deal had been struck after negotiations with Republicans to prevent another shutdown.
The parties choose a short-term solution: the interim budget will only run until the beginning of December. This gives them time to negotiate further. The proposal must first be approved by the Senate and then go to the House of Representatives, which is also expected to vote. Next, President Joe Biden has to sign.
Republicans and Democrats must also come to terms with another recurring headache: raising the debt ceiling. This relates to the maximum amount that the US states are allowed to borrow. If that does not rise, the government is expected to run out of money by October 18.
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