The deeply divided US Congress has been unable to agree on a federal budget since September. Now the two chambers of parliament are voting again for an interim solution.
A standstill in government business in the USA has been averted for the time being. Congress now passed a law that ensures government funding until March. US President Joe Biden still has to sign it, but this is considered a formality. This is an extension of the current government spending requirements and is therefore only a transitional arrangement – the third in a row. Since September, the divided parliament has not been able to agree on a law on financing for the entire year. With the extension, parliamentarians want to give themselves more time to find an agreement.
On Saturday night, funding for around a fifth of the money for government operations and federal agencies would have expired, including money for the military and veterans, agriculture and transport. Funding for the other four fifths, such as the Foreign Ministry, trade, labor and health, would only have been secured until February 2nd. The two deadlines have now been extended – to March 1st and 8th. A recently reached agreement in principle between the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, and the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, gives hope that an agreement can now be reached by then.
However, this is far from certain because some Republican hardliners are rebelling against it. Johnson is trying to unite these forces. His predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, fell over the funding issue.
The federal budget excludes the billions in support for Israel and Ukraine requested by Biden, as well as new money for tightening migration policy on the border with Mexico. Some Republicans in particular are skeptical or reject support for Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia. Biden is trying to get additional funds released and is struggling with parliamentarians to find a solution on this issue. He met with leaders of both parties in the White House on Wednesday to bring movement to the debate.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.