The US government is getting ready for yet another shutdown with Congress seemingly poised to miss a Saturday midnight end-of-month deadline to fund several important federal agencies.
The fourth shutdown to occur over the past decade, the process is becoming a bit of a tradition in Washington as politicians battle down to the last minute to agree on a budget, and it could significantly affect everything from air travel to national parks and marriage licenses.
Some of the most affected persons will be government employees will be laid off without pay, and crucial nutrition programmes for pregant women and babies.
However, a federal government shutdown would not be total. Some massive programs like the military forces, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be shut down and the seaports and airports and Customs and Immigrantion would remain open even if workers are for the time being uppaid.
It follows a hard-right revolt in the US House of Representatives.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, slammed Mr McCarthy for bringing up “truly radical” proposal that could not make it through both chambers.
“The Speaker needs to abandon his doomed mission of trying to please [Republican] extremists,” he said.
The White House backed Mr Schumer’s calls for the House to get behind his spending bill.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “The failure of House Republicans to act responsibly would hurt American families and cause economic headwinds that could undermine the progress we’re making.”
Ms Yellen warned that “key government functions”, including loans to farmers and small businesses, food and workplace safety inspections, and major infrastructure improvements would all be affected.
Shutdowns take place when Congress is unable to approve the roughly 30% of the federal budget it must approve before the start of each fiscal year on 1 October.
This means that, on Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers except those deemed “essential” will be at home without pay. Many of these employees live paycheque to paycheque, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.
More than 1.4 million active-duty members of the military and tens of thousands of air traffic controllers will be among those working, without pay.
It is a troubling development for any federal workers holding student loan debt. Loan repayments for over 40 million people will restart on Sunday after being paused since the start of the pandemic.
The shutdown will also have an immediate impact on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides grocery assistance to seven million pregnant women and new mothers.
A prolonged shutdown could also affect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a grocery benefit known as “food stamps” that serves 40 million low-income Americans, and hinder the implementation of a new programme to serve free breakfast and lunch to students in high-need school districts.
Museums, national parks, research facilities and communities health centres with federal government oversight or funding are likely to suspend operations for the period of the shutdown.
Additionally, the government agency at the helm of relief and recovery from natural disasters is currently scrambling to conserve cash in the event a shutdown collides with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
Budget disputes that cause this kind of disruption do not occur anywhere else in the world and has been criticised as an example of Washington’s growing dysfunction and partisan divides.
The last government shutdown, under Mr Trump in 2019, lasted a record 34 days.
It erased $11bn in economic output, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and federal workers were seen standing in line at food banks.
Source: BBC, news agencies.