Hardline Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have rejected a bill proposed by their leader to temporarily fund the government, increasing the likelihood of a partial government shutdown. The bill, which aimed to extend government funding by 30 days, included spending cuts and restrictions on immigration that had little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. With a shutdown imminent, federal agencies may close, national parks may shut down, and up to 4 million federal workers may have their pay disrupted. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested that the chamber might still pass a funding extension without the conservative policies that had alienated Democrats, but the next steps remain uncertain.
The potential government shutdown has raised concerns about the impact on the economy and the military. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that a shutdown would undermine economic progress by idling programs for small businesses and children and could delay infrastructure improvements. President Joe Biden expressed concern about the impact on the armed forces, calling it a dereliction of duty. Republican infighting and the refusal of some lawmakers to support temporary funding extensions have led to the impasse. Some Republicans argue that Congress should focus on passing detailed spending bills for the entire fiscal year, while others believe that a stopgap bill that can win approval in the Senate and from Biden is necessary.
The possibility of a government shutdown is drawing attention to the repeated brinkmanship in Congress and its potential consequences. This would be the fourth shutdown in a decade and comes just four months after a similar standoff that almost led to a default on the country’s debt. The uncertainty resulting from these situations has raised concerns about U.S. creditworthiness. Ultimately, the fate of the government funding extension lies in the hands of both the House and the Senate, with procedural hurdles possibly delaying a final vote until Tuesday.