(Washington) The United States is once again facing the danger of a political-financial impasse: Congress risks causing a paralysis of the federal state in less than two weeks, failing to agree on a new budget.
Several competing budget bills are currently being debated in Washington, with none of them having enough votes to pass the Senate, with a Democratic majority, and the House of Representatives, in the hands of Republicans. .
Parliamentarians have until midnight on September 30 to reach an agreement, otherwise all funding for federal services will be suddenly cut.
Ministries, but also national parks, certain museums and a multitude of organizations would be affected, forcing hundreds of thousands of employees into technical unemployment.
Despite the strong partisan divisions, most elected officials from both camps do not want this situation which is extremely unpopular. But several Trumpist elected officials are determined to play spoilsport, opposing for the moment each bill under debate.
“With less than two weeks until the end of the fiscal year, extremist Republicans in the House of Representatives are playing with people’s lives,” the White House accused in a statement Tuesday.
Aid to Ukraine uncertain
This budgetary crisis could have direct repercussions on the war in Ukraine: the White House has demanded that the finance law passed by elected officials include $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv. An envelope supported by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, but to which Trumpist elected officials in the House are radically opposed.
“I will not vote to give a single cent for the war in Ukraine,” declared elected official Marjorie Taylor Greene, very close to former President Donald Trump, on X (ex-Twitter) on Tuesday.
Will his visit put an end to the crisis? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to the US capital on Thursday for further discussions with President Joe Biden on supporting Kyiv against the Russian invasion.
“At the very moment when President Zelensky is coming to the United States to justify the need to stand firm against Putin, the Republican leaders in the House are essentially telling him ‘deal with it,’” denounced the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.
The debt crisis in June
This is the second time in a few months that the world’s largest economy has found itself facing this danger of financial impasse.
The United States already avoided a default in June following lengthy negotiations between the Biden administration and conservatives.
A payment default would have been unprecedented, while the United States has already experienced several more or less prolonged periods of “shutdown” and budgetary paralysis.
The “shutdown” of winter 2018, the longest to date, notably wreaked havoc in baggage screening at airports in the middle of the holidays.
This time, “each week of the administration’s budgetary paralysis will cost the American economy $6 billion,” predicts Gregory Daco, chief economist for EY.