US Congress Ready to Approve Interim Budget to Prevent Government Shutdown

The Democratic-majority United States (US) Congress is likely to approve a temporary funding measure to prevent some of the national government’s activities from shutting down at midnight Thursday (30/9).

The chairman of the majority faction in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said the measure would maintain current funding levels for all government agencies through December 3.

The interim funding will also include $6.3 billion to help relocate Afghan refugees who moved to the US after Washington last month ended the country’s two-decade war.

U.S. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer addresses the media during an occasion on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 28, 2021. (Photo: AP)

U.S. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer addresses the media during an occasion on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 28, 2021. (Photo: AP)

The provisional budget also includes $28.6 billion in aid for recovery costs for states in the eastern and southern regions of the US that were hit by recent hurricanes and states in the west that were hit by bushfires.

“We can approve this move quickly and send it to the House so it can reach the president’s desk before the annual budget ends at midnight tomorrow,” Schumer said in comments to the Senate. “With so many critical issues to tackle, the last thing the American people need right now is a government shutdown. This proposal will prevent that from happening.”

Senate Republicans earlier this week blocked the passage of another measure to prevent government shutdowns as efforts by his opponent included provisions to suspend the nation’s long-term debt limit. Republicans are trying to get the Democrats to do it themselves without Republican help.

But Senate Republican chairman Mitch McConnell said Republicans would support a “clean” funding package to keep the government open to the new fiscal year starting Friday as proposed by Schumer.

If passed by the Senate, the interim funding or budget bill would go to the House of Representatives, where House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters in the House of Representatives that he could vote Wednesday night.

Since 1976, the US has experienced government shutdowns 21 times, three of which occurred during one term during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

The second shutdown during Trump’s term occurred on February 9, 2018, which lasted several hours and involved a filibuster, an attempt to block regulation by Republican Senator Rand Paul. (my/jm)

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