April 23, 2024

At the last minute: The US Senate approves the budget package

The US Senate passed a $1 trillion budget package at the last minute. Voting began late Friday evening (local time) one minute before the deadline and ended early Saturday morning. Until recently, it was not clear whether there would be a partial cessation of government work – or a so-called shutdown. In theory, this situation lasted only a short time, as the deadline passed before the vote ended. However, this had no actual effect. US President Joe Biden must still sign the law – this is considered a formality. The White House announced that night that it expected this to happen on Saturday.

The budget package was approved by the House of Representatives by a cross-party majority on Friday afternoon. The fact that the vote in the Senate took place only a short time ago was not due to a lack of a majority, but rather due to parliamentary tactics by Republican senators. In the end, 74 senators voted in favor of the budget package and 24 against it.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson (center) walks through Statuary Hall to the House Chamber.Image: Cornerstone

The impact of the closure would initially have been minimal over the weekend, as most affected government employees are out of work anyway. It could have become a problem if the whole thing continued into the next week. The closure means that millions of government employees will no longer receive their salaries. Many ministries and authorities have contingency plans for this scenario. The extent to which the shutdown affects daily life and the economy in the United States ultimately depends on its length.

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The now-approved US$1.2 trillion (about €1.1 trillion) budget package funds a large portion of the US government's work for the current fiscal year, which runs until the end of September. A smaller budget package for the remaining government work has already been approved. Together, both packages are worth $1.66 trillion. (DAP/EPA)

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