The US Congress negotiates ‘in extremis’ to avoid the government shutdown | International

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The United States Capitol in Washington.
The United States Capitol in Washington.JIM WATSON (AFP)

The United States House of Representatives plans to vote on Thursday night a bill that allows funding to federal agencies until mid-February to avoid the so-called shutdown, government shutdown, after the leaders of the House and the Senate announced that they had managed to seal a deal. The passage of the rule through the House for approval is expected to be quick to give the Senate time to do the same before the Friday deadline at midnight. There are less than 36 hours left to avoid the Administration running out of funds.

After leaving a speech at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Bethesda, outside Washington), President Joe Biden declared that he did not believe there would be a government shutdown. “I don’t think that will happen. We have what is necessary to ensure that there is no closure, “explained the president. “I spoke to Mitch McConnell, I spoke to [Chuck] Schumer, there is a plan in place, unless someone decides to be totally irresponsible, and I do not think that will happen, I do not think there will be a closure, “Biden concluded when mentioning his contacts with the leaders of the Republican minority and Democratic majority of the Senate.

The truth is that it is not up to the president to avoid the bolt. And despite the good news in the morning, the Senate deal could be in jeopardy due to unwavering opposition from a group of Republican senators led by Mike Lee against President Joe Biden’s rules for big business to force their workers to be immunized against covid-19. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, was very harsh in criticizing these Republican legislators on Thursday, whom she accused of inciting an economic crisis as well as a public health crisis.

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“Once again it is a question of double irresponsibility. First they close the government and then they turn their backs on science ”. At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Pelosi was categorical in rejecting any Democratic responsibility for the impasse. “How are they going to explain to the public that they are closing the government because they do not want people to be vaccinated?” “This is as absurd as that the Government is going to be closed by people who do not believe in science or are anti-vaccines,” said Pelosi, to then respond to a reporter who questioned what the message he wanted to send: “Respect” for science and towards administration, he said. Meanwhile, the minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who had to quell the rebellion within his caucus to keep the government in operation, assured that there would be no shutdown.

The ghost of the last government shutdown still hangs over Congress, when Christmas 2018, under the presidency of Donald Trump, saw the longest in history, which lasted 35 days. It had happened before in 1994, 1995, 2013 and much more frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Although it is called a government shutdown, it does not imply its complete paralysis. It affects 38% of “non-essential” employees and maintains active those assigned to security, health and defense tasks, as well as social security. But the cost is immense. Not only in economic terms. It shows some political elites and in this case a president unable to reach a pact to ensure the full functioning of the State.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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