Senate moves forward to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON — As the Senate moves forward with a bipartisan plan to prevent a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is back to square one: trying to convince the intransigent right of his Republican bloc to do what they have said they will never do, pass a temporary measure to keep the government running.

The Republican leader laid out his strategy yesterday behind closed doors, when he urged his fractious majority to work together. He has arranged a trial vote for tomorrow, Thursday, on the eve of the closing deadline, on a far-right project that would reduce the budget of many organizations by 8% and tighten security on the border. But President Joe Biden, Democrats and his own right wing have rejected it.

“I want to solve the problem,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol after the meeting.

But when asked how he would pass a Republican spending plan if his own right wing rejected it, McCarthy had few answers. He flatly rejected the bipartisan Senate bill, which would fund the government through Nov. 17, adding $6 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for disaster relief while negotiations continue. He insisted, as always, that he won’t stop trying.

Congress is at a crossroads days before a federal government shutdown that would stop paying salaries to millions of federal public employees and the armed forces, shut down many agencies and leave Americans who depend to a greater or lesser extent on the government adrift. government.

McCarthy demands that Biden meet with him to discuss border security. But the president of the chamber has little to put pressure on the White House if he does not have the support of his entire bloc and after having abandoned the debt agreement that he reached with Biden months ago and that is now law.

In the other wing of the Capitol, the majority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, began the session with a warning against right-wing extremists who “seem to rejoice in the government shutdown.”

“An irresponsible shutdown serves no purpose,” Schumer said.

In an unusual show of agreement with his Democratic counterpart, the leader of the Republican bloc, Mitch McConnell, urged his fellow members of the lower house to take into account the Senate’s temporary project that maintains funding at its current levels, in addition to the funds for Ukraine and the disasters in the country, and abandon the closure strategy.

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Peggy McColl

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