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US Congress averts shutdown at the last second

Senate approves interim budget
US Congress averts shutdown at the last second

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After the House of Representatives, the US Senate also votes for a 45-day interim budget. This means that a budget freeze has been averted for the time being. However, President Biden immediately puts pressure on the excluded aid for Ukraine to be renegotiated.

A few hours before an impending budget freeze, the US Congress passed an interim budget and thereby averted a so-called shutdown. In the Senate on Saturday evening (local time), 88 senators voted for and 9 against a text that had already been voted for by a majority in the House of Representatives and which does not contain any further aid for Ukraine. US President Joe Biden signed the law into force late Saturday evening (local time).

The interim budget introduced by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy lasts 45 days. This buys time for further budget negotiations. If Democrats and Republicans had not reached an agreement at the last minute, the shutdown would have come into effect at midnight (local time, 6 a.m. CEST). Hundreds of thousands of state employees would then have had to be sent on unpaid leave and numerous public institutions would have had to be closed.

Biden quickly called for further support for Ukraine after the vote. The agreement is “good news” for the people in the country. “Under no circumstances can we allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” warned the Democrat. He called on McCarthy to push through further aid.

Hardliners threaten McCarthy's removal

With the so-called “stopgap measure” on Saturday, McCarthy openly opposed his party's hardliners. Around 20 ultra-conservative MPs have called for savings and blocked the adoption of a regular budget. The Republicans have a comparatively small majority in the Congressional Chamber with 221 votes to 212, which is why McCarthy was dependent on the support of the Democrats. In the USA there is no compulsory faction.

The arch-conservatives had warned McCarthy against exactly this step and said that if he did, they would try to remove him from office. It was initially unclear whether they would now implement this threat. McCarthy's election was unusually difficult; a new appointment process could have a major impact on the chamber's political work. The President of the House of Representatives – traditionally referred to as the “Speaker” in English – holds the third highest office in the state after the President and Vice President.

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