In the face of an impending U.S. government shutdown, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, plans to hold a procedural vote on a short-term spending measure that has already been rejected by Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Meanwhile, the House continues to vote on amendments to appropriations bills that are unlikely to prevent a shutdown. To avoid furloughs and service disruptions, Congress must pass a law that President Joe Biden can sign by midnight Saturday. House Republicans, led by a faction of far-right members, have rejected the spending levels agreed upon by McCarthy and Biden, demanding further cuts and stricter immigration legislation. Despite the relatively small slice of the overall budget that is at the heart of the funding fight, the outcome has significant implications for federal workers and services.
House Speaker McCarthy is under pressure to achieve the goals set by the hardline members of his caucus, some of whom have threatened to remove him from his leadership position if he passes a spending bill that relies on Democratic votes. Biden has accused McCarthy of choosing between his speakership and American interests, while McCarthy has suggested that negotiations on border issues could avoid a shutdown. Former President Donald Trump, who supports a shutdown, has used social media to push for it. The Senate’s proposed funding measure would extend federal spending until November 17 and include funding for domestic disaster response and aid to Ukraine. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged McCarthy to follow the Senate’s lead and pass a bipartisan continuing resolution appropriations bill. The potential shutdown has raised concerns among credit agencies, with Moody’s warning that it could harm the country’s credit rating. Although most of Congress rejects House Republicans’ focus on border issues as the cause of the shutdown, the risk of a shutdown remains high as the House is expected to include border measures that are unlikely to pass the Senate in its own short-term funding measure.