Washington, Sept 25 (EFE).- The United States is inching closer to a government shutdown for which there seems to be no solution in sight: Republicans sympathetic to former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) are in full rebellion, unwilling to accept a short-term solution that funds federal agencies beyond Sept. 30, when available funds run out.
If the government runs out of money, most government agencies, museums, and national parks will close their doors, putting hundreds of thousands of federal workers temporarily out of work without pay, which could eventually ripple through the economy.
The situation is currently at an impasse, and the White House has already asked federal agencies to prepare for the shutdown.
All eyes are on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, who has been trying to persuade the more radical wing of his party to pass a resolution to fund the government in the short term and avoid running out of money on Sept. 30, when the new fiscal year begins.
However, pro-Trump Republicans, united under the umbrella of the Freedom Caucus, have resisted.
Their goal is to undo a deal struck in June between President Joe Biden and McCarthy, in which Congress suspended the US debt limit in exchange for the White House agreeing to certain limits on government spending.
The Freedom Caucus did not like the deal and wants further cuts. Specifically, they want to set a government spending limit of $1.47 trillion through fiscal year 2024, which is $120 billion more in cuts than agreed to.
Despite his initial resistance, McCarthy had to give in, and on Tuesday the lower chamber, where Republicans hold a slim majority, will begin debating a dozen bills to fund the government that include cuts to various programs.
Aid to Ukraine
One of the most sensitive issues is the aid to Ukraine. Trump himself, who is favored to win the Republican nomination for the 2024 elections, has called on his party colleagues to stop sending military aid to Ukraine.
Biden, on the other hand, has called on Congress to approve an additional $24 billion in military aid, and just this weekend called conservatives to “start doing the job America elected them to do.”
A government shutdown could also disrupt training programs for Ukrainian forces, such as the one currently underway in Germany, where some 200 Ukrainians are being trained to operate and maintain US Abrams tanks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington last week to convince pro-Trump Republicans of the importance of continuing to support Ukraine, but it is unclear whether he succeeded in changing their minds.
A short-term solution Despite the interest of some Republicans in debating aid to Ukraine, time is of the essence.
It usually takes weeks, even months, for bills like the one the House will begin considering on Tuesday to be debated, and once passed, they must move on to be considered by the Senate.
The longest government shutdown, which lasted 35 days, occurred during Trump’s presidency due to disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over funding the wall he wanted to build on the border with Mexico.
This time, however, the battle is not between the two parties, but within the Republican Party itself, specifically between those who support Trump and those who advocate more moderate ideas.EFE