Congress is now rushing to avert a government shutdown this Friday. In a last ditch attempt to get Republican support, Democrats agreed to remove measures suspending the debt limit.
Once they proposed a clean bill which only proposes stopgap government funding, Republicans gave their support.
Looming Government Shutdown By Friday
Democrats originally wanted to sponsor a spending bill that also included suspending the debt ceiling. While the measure passed the House of Representatives, Senate Republicans effectively blocked the bill.
Senate GOP leadership declared they would support only a funding bill that prevents the government shutdown. However, Democrats need to address the issue on the debt limits on their own.
In order to resolve the issue in time, Democrats agreed to drop their demands on combining the two measures in one bill. However, they still insist that the debt limit remains a shared responsibility that both parties should bear.
Rushing The Vote Before The Government Shuts Down Friday
As a result, the Senate is now preparing to take up the vote Thursday on a revised short-term spending bill. This aims to give the federal government the necessary funds to operate until early December.
For this October 1 deadline, both parties earlier gave their pledge not to allow a government shutdown to happen. Hopefully, Congress will come to a new agreement before the next deadline arrives.
Once the bill passes the Senate, the House of Representatives will then vote on a counterpart bill. Congress hopes to place the reconciled version to the desk of President Joe Biden before the 12 midnight deadline arrives.
Republicans Got Concessions
The last minute spending bill will sustain current spending levels. It will also include billions of dollars to help Americans hit by two recent hurricanes. The spending bill will also have funds intended to assist Afghan refugees.
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) announced the plans late Wednesday and said they only have hours to spare. “We can approve this measure quickly and send it to the House, so it can reach the president’s desk before funding expires midnight tomorrow,” he said.
“With so many critical issues to address, the last thing the American people need right now is a government shutdown,” he added.
In return for their cooperation, Republicans managed to get a few concessions. Among the amendments they wanted is the proposal from Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS).
Marshall wants a prohibition on the government from enforcing federal vaccine mandates on private businesses. Earlier, Biden announced an executive order directing employers with 100 or more workers to require COVID-19 vaccines, require immunizations or subject them to weekly testing.
Budget Good Until December 3
Once Biden signs the provisional funding bill, the government will have enough money to function until December 3. Afterward, Congress can issue another short fix known as a continuing resolution.
Alternatively, lawmakers can act more decisively and work out a new budget that includes all their wish list programs.
Either way, Congress will need to address other incoming problems. Besides the threat of a looming government shutdown, the country’s debt ceiling is about to default by October 18.
If Congress fails to raise the debt limit, the US could lead to a recession. The shockwave can potentially affect global markets and not just the local ones. For the solution to this one, Democrats shouldn’t look to the GOP for help.
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remarked Tuesday that they’ll only support averting a government shutdown. “Bipartisanship isn’t a light switch that Democrats can switch on when they need to borrow money and flip off when they want to spend money,” he explained.
Watch the CNBC Television news video reporting that Congress is racing to raise debt ceiling, avert government shutdown:
Do you agree with how things get done in Congress? Do you agree with the Republicans in insisting that Democrats should solve the debt ceiling by themselves?
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