Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has rejected a stopgap funding bill proposed by the Senate, bringing the U.S. government closer to its fourth partial shutdown in a decade. The Senate plan, which gained bipartisan support, would fund the government until November 17, giving lawmakers more time to agree on funding for the full fiscal year. However, McCarthy stated that there is not enough support for the Senate plan in the House. The House is currently focusing on passing separate full-year funding bills, but even if successful, these bills alone would not prevent a government shutdown. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to pass a short-term extension of spending and emergency aid, but House Republicans want tougher legislation regarding immigration and spending cuts.
As the possibility of a government shutdown looms, federal agencies and Congress are making preparations for furloughing workers and suspending government services. The standoff between Republicans and Democrats has attracted the attention of ratings agencies, with warnings that it could harm the federal government’s credit-worthiness. Republican hardliners are demanding deeper spending cuts and stronger legislation on immigration, while some threaten to remove McCarthy from his leadership role if he relies on Democratic votes to pass a spending bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for bipartisanship to avoid a shutdown. It remains uncertain whether there will be enough support in the House to pass a stopgap measure.
This potential government shutdown comes after recent concerns over the nation’s debt and the risk of defaulting. Another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating could raise borrowing costs and increase the nation’s debt further. Despite the risks, some hardline Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have dismissed concerns and have even called for a shutdown. With the deadline for a funding bill approaching, the situation remains uncertain, and the consequences of a government shutdown could have far-reaching effects on both federal workers and government services.