From Sunday, the world's largest economy should operate slowly. Millions of civil servants will be deprived of salaries, air traffic disrupted, while visitors to national parks will find their doors closed.
As the deadline approaches, in fact, it seems less and less less likely that Democrats and Republicans will be able to overcome political blockages to reach an agreement on the budget.
The “shutdown” is “still completely avoidable, it is entirely in the hands of the Republicans in the House” of representatives, declared the head of White House economists, Lael Brainard, Friday morning on the CNBC channel.
– Aid to Ukraine, source of tensions –
Almost a year before the presidential election, both camps blame each other for this situation.
The American debt ceiling © AFP – Jonathan WALTER, Sabrina BLANCHARD
“I hope that the Democrats will not vote to force the State into a shutdown”, declared Friday morning the Republican president of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, during a press conference.
At the heart of this political blockage: the 2024 budget, which must be approved by the elected representatives of the Senate and the House of Representatives to that funding continues to be distributed.
In the Senate, a short-term budget proposal is supported by the vast majority of elected officials and would offer a few additional weeks to find a final agreement.
But in the House of Representatives, a handful of Trumpist Republican elected officials refuse to give their vote to any text which would include financial aid to Ukraine.
– Unpaid civil servants –
The Republicans in the House have a competing text, which does not allocate an envelope to kyiv, but notably releases money for the fight against illegal immigration. Elected officials will vote on the proposal Friday, said Kevin McCarthy.
The White House is strongly opposed to this bill and has indicated that Joe Biden will veto it, accusing “extreme Republicans” of leading the country towards a “shutdown”, “which will harm our economy and our national security” .
With less than 40 hours now until the deadline, the country is preparing for this closure of services. Officials were notified Thursday of the impending paralysis.
They will in fact have to wait until the end of the “shutdown” to receive their salary. Some, considered “essential workers”, will however be requisitioned, the others will be prohibited from accessing their files and emails. The military will also not be paid.
Most of America's famous national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone will close their doors. Air traffic is also expected to be very disrupted.
And some recipients of food aid could be temporarily refused it.
– “National security” –
“Hundreds of small businesses would see their loan applications fail,” the White House also warned, and would no longer be able to respond to calls for tenders for public contracts, since they would be interrupted.
US President Joe Biden, in Virginia, September 29, 2023 © AFP – SAUL LOEB
“It is essential that Congress acts to pass the appropriations for fiscal year 2024 and support the request for additional funding of the “administration for Ukraine, global humanitarian needs, funds to help address the migration crisis and to combat malicious actors, particularly in Africa,” a State Department spokesperson also noted on Friday. .
“Delays in accessing these funds jeopardize the national security of the United States and cede ground to China and Russia,” he warned.
The last “shutdown” was the longest that the United States had experienced. It lasted 35 days between December 2018 and January 2019, with a blockage around, this time, the financing of the wall on the border with Mexico wanted by former President Donald Trump.
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