The US is days away from its 22nd government shutdown in 50 years. Why is this happening and what will it mean for Americans?
The deadline for Congress to pass a new budget to keep funding government agencies is midnight on Saturday.
Without a deal, some key departments will no longer operate from Sunday.
Describe a shutdown.
The annual money that Congress approves is what supports several federal government entities.
These agencies make proposals each year, which Congress must approve before the president can sign budget legislation for the next fiscal year.
Why wasn’t there a deal this time?
Republicans now dominate the House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress, but there is significant division within the party on spending priorities.
In a shutdown, what stops operating?
The US would experience its first government shutdown since early 2019 if no agreement is reached this week.
Each department develops a plan for a shutdown, detailing which federal operations are suspended and how many employees must take a temporary leave of absence without pay (known as a furlough).
For instance, processing and issuing cards for social security payments, halting food inspections, and closing or restricting access to national parks all fall under this category.
Additionally, it will have an impact on administrative processes relating to tax returns, such as income and social security numbers, which can hinder you from obtaining other services like a mortgage.
A right-wing faction in the House is calling for significant budget cutbacks and opposes continuing to subsidize the conflict in Ukraine.
What pursuits are unaffected by this?
Workers are nevertheless expected to report for work even when they are not being paid for “essential services” that are primarily connected to public safety.
Among these are border security, medical treatment, air traffic control, law enforcement, and the upkeep of the electricity infrastructure.
Other vital operations, such as social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which do not get funding from the treasury on a yearly basis, are unaffected.
They have rejected attempts to bring any votes to the floor by the party leadership, which is led by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
This group claims they would remove Mr. McCarthy as leader if moderate Republicans work out a compromise with Democrats to pass a bill in the House.
Any House budget must be approved by the Senate, the higher chamber, which is controlled by Democrats, before being approved by President Joe Biden.
If a deal cannot be reached by the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, there will be a shutdown during which all discretionary non-essential operations will be suspended.
When the deadline approaches, politicians from both parties typically come to an agreement on interim funding based on the demands from the prior year.
This type of temporary measure, known as a continuing resolution, allows agencies to continue operating until the yearly budget is approved.
What about the executive branch of government?
The United States president receives a fixed salary.
Additionally, Congress is unaffected because its members are exempt and its financing measure has already been passed.
The US Department of Justice is among those impacted; during a shutdown, many attorneys and judges are not at work. Others are doing unpaid jobs.
However, practically all federal civil lawsuits, as well as immigration court cases, are impacted. Criminal investigations often continue.
How frequent are shutdowns in the US?
Very frequent. There were three during the tenure of Donald Trump as president, with the longest in history ending in January 2019.
That one came about as a result of arguments over how to pay for a border wall with Mexico.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it decreased economic production by around $11 billion, including $3 billion that was lost and was never recovered.
Budget-related shutdowns are essentially unique to US politics.
In the US, the several branches of government must agree on spending plans before they can be passed into law.
The majority of nations consider budget votes to be votes of confidence in the administration. That isn’t the situation in the US, though, where the three parts of government are equal and frequently split.