Government Shutdown Still Appears Likely
A last-minute compromise is still possible, but it appears more and more likely that government services will slow or stop starting Sunday, Oct. 1.
WASHINGTON – U.S. lawmakers warned that a government shutdown is increasingly certain as hopes dwindle of a last ditch compromise to resolve a budgetary stand-off in the world’s largest economy.
Speaking on Sunday, both Democrats and Republicans said time was running out for a deal before October 1, when current funding for federal operations ends, The Financial Times reported.
A shutdown would force thousands of federal workers to stay home, paralyzing vast swaths of the U.S. government in a way that could hurt households and businesses, and damage the American economy.
The latest budgetary crisis in Washington comes just a few months after Congress and the White House narrowly averted an even more destructive default on U.S. debt. But the bipartisan agreement struck then between President Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House speaker, did not sit well with hardline Republicans who are now blocking any new fiscal compromise.
In recent days, McCarthy has floated a 45-day extension of government funding in order to give more time for an agreement on the details of spending for the next fiscal year, but is facing stiff resistance to that plan.
“I don’t want to see a shutdown, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the country is headed for a shutdown and everyone should prepare as such,” Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, told CBS on Sunday.
Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who is her party’s top member of the House financial services committee, also said a shutdown was looming.
On Saturday night, Biden warned that a shutdown could jeopardize military pay, food safety, early childhood education programs, and cancer research.
“Funding the government is one of the most basic responsibilities of Congress. … Let’s get this done,” Biden said at a dinner hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Despite the faint hopes of an agreement ahead of the October 1 deadline, there is still a chance of an intervention to resolve the crisis either through an agreement between centrist lawmakers of both parties in the House, or by a deal forged by Senate leaders that would pile pressure on the lower chamber to accept a compromise.
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