US Congress avoids ‘shutdown’ after passing budget extension

The US Congress approved a federal budget extension on Wednesday, in a rare show of bipartisan unity, averting a US government shutdown ahead of the Thanksgiving and holiday holidays. year.

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After the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Senate voted by an overwhelming majority of 87 to 11 on Wednesday to extend until mid-January the budget, which was set to expire at midnight Friday night on Saturday

This extension, the result of tough negotiations in the Capitol, does not take into account aid to Israel and Ukraine, respectively at war against Hamas and Russia, and to Taiwan.

Had it not been adopted, 1.5 million civil servants would have lost their salaries, air traffic would have been disrupted, while visitors to national parks would have found their gates closed.

Most elected officials in both camps did not want this extremely unpopular situation, the famous “blackout,” especially in the run-up to Thanksgiving on November 23rd.

Democrats wanted a huge envelope for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but ultimately each aid will be dealt with separately at the request of Republicans, who are hesitant about $61 billion in military aid to Kiev. However, they are the first to demand massive support for Israel and a firm attitude towards Beijing.

“Far from perfect”

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged that the bill was “far from perfect” but that it achieves Democrats’ goal of avoiding a shutdown.

Dissensions in Congress – between Republicans in the majority in the House and Democrats, controlled in the Senate – are such that currently elected officials cannot vote on a year’s budgets, contrary to what most economies in the world do.

Instead, the United States has to make do with a series of one- or two-month mini-budgets.

Every time one of these budgets expires, everything has to be done again: bitter negotiations, much discussed on social networks, threats, then a series of votes, in the House, in the Senate…

The last negotiations around the US federal budget, at the end of September, plunged Congress into chaos.

Trump’s elected officials, furious that then-Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy had struck a last-minute deal with the Democratic camp, fired him on October 3, an unprecedented situation.

On this occasion, the agreement on the table proposes to extend the budget in two different terms: one part until mid-January, the other until the beginning of February.

It was presented by the new Speaker of the Chamber, Mike Johnson, unknown to the general public and with very limited experience within the Republican staff.

In any case, he is forced to deal, like his predecessor, with a handful of Trumpists, supporters of a very strict budgetary orthodoxy, and the Democrats, who refuse to have the country’s economic policy dictated to them by lieutenants of the former president

These are the same conservative elected officials who pushed America over the edge four months ago.

The world’s top power then avoided a last-minute default after lengthy negotiations between the Biden administration and conservatives.