US Congress Ready to Approve Temporary Funding to Keep Government Activities Running

The US Senate is set to vote Thursday on temporary funding to prevent a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Approval in the Senate will bring the matter up for decision in a vote in the US House of Representatives, while legislators try not to miss the midnight deadline.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, September 28, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, September 28, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation would maintain current budget levels across government agencies until Dec. 3. The legislation will also include $6.3 billion to help relocate Afghan refugees who moved to the United States after Washington ended the two-decade war in Afghanistan last month, and $28.6 billion to help eastern and southern states recover. from devastating hurricanes and wildfire-hit western states.

“With so many important issues to address, the last thing the American people need right now is a shutdown of government activity,” Schumer said in a statement to the Senate Wednesday. “This proposal will prevent that from happening.”

Republicans in the Senate earlier this week blocked the passage of another piece of legislation to prevent a government shutdown because it included a provision to suspend the country’s long-term debt ceiling. The Republican faction tried to force the Democrats to implement it themselves without Republican support.

But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his members would support legislation that only deals with funding packages to keep the government open in the new fiscal year starting Friday.

Since 1976 there have been 21 partial US government shutdowns.

By law, US government agencies must have Congress-approved funds in order to operate. Closures usually occur when Congress and the White House cannot agree on the level of funding for a particular operation or whether the programs in question are worth funding.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on September 24, 2021, outside the US Capitol in Washington.  (Photo: AFP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on September 24, 2021, outside the US Capitol in Washington. (Photo: AFP)

Without funding during the shutdown, many government activities were suspended, such as pension payments to senior citizens, processing of income tax returns and access to national parks. However, national security activities are considered essential and employees continue to work, even though payment of their salaries may be delayed.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues from the Democratic faction that the House of Representatives would soon vote on freezing the government’s national debt ceiling.

Although the House of Representatives passed it, the fate of the legislation in the Senate is uncertain. The Senate is currently politically divided with 50 Republicans and 50 others. from the Democrats.

Republicans oppose the Democratic proposal championed by President Joe Biden. [uh/ab]

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