Republicans’ Spending Fight Pushes US Closer to Government Shutdown


Infighting among Republicans in the House of Representatives over spending bills has brought the United States to within 10 days of a government shutdown, creating uncertainty among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors who would be affected.

Unless Congress is able to pass the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government — or can agree on a stopgap measure providing temporary funding — the authority of many federal agencies to spend money will expire at midnight on September 30.

At the heart of the dispute is the decision by some of the most right-wing members of the House to repudiate an agreement that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated earlier this year with President Joe Biden to avoid a default on the nation’s debt. A handful of House Republicans want to cut spending below the amount agreed to in that deal.

They are demanding significant cuts to domestic spending, as well as to the aid that the U.S. has been providing to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion. Because McCarthy’s party has control of the House by only a handful of votes, defections by even a few members of his party mean that he does not have the majority needed to pass the appropriations measures.

McCarthy in a bind

It would be possible for McCarthy to bring appropriations bills to the floor and pass them with support from House Democrats, but the hard-right element of his caucus would regard that as a betrayal, possibly leading them to call for a vote to strip McCarthy of the speakership.

Source : VOA News