December 4, 2023

The imminent “lockdown” in the United States of America: the Senate offers a compromise

A few days before the imminent shutdown of government business in the United States of America, the Senate proposed a compromise in the budget dispute. In the first cross-party vote on Tuesday evening (local time), senators voted 77 votes to 19 in favor of a draft short-term transitional budget, US media reported.

This would guarantee funding for the federal authorities until at least November 17, thus avoiding the “shutdown” that is already threatening this weekend.

The proposal, which still needs to be voted on in the Senate, includes $6 billion (about 5.7 billion euros) in additional aid for Ukraine and disaster relief after storms and fires in the United States. However, it is questionable whether this settlement will also pass the House of Representatives.

The budget term approved by the US Congress at the end of last year ends at the end of this month. The new federal budget must be approved by the end of September in order to avoid bankruptcy. The same political wrangling occurs every year, with Congress usually passing a temporary budget and then fighting again within a few months over funding government operations.

An agreement is usually reached just before the deadline – part of a test of political strength in Washington. The situation is special this time because Republicans only have a slim majority in the US House of Representatives, and the faction is very divided.

The head of the parliamentary chamber, Republican Kevin McCarthy, was not elected to his position until the fifteenth ballot held last January, and he is under great pressure from the extreme right in his group. They oppose each other in budget talks. The Democrats, led by US President Joe Biden, have a small majority in the Senate.

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