Government shutdown deadline looms as Senate prepares to vote on funding bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate is due to vote on the government funding bill passed by the House on Monday, but its fate remains uncertain as Republicans threaten to block the measure.

Lawmakers have until Friday to approve government funding or a shutdown will be triggered.

The sticking point is including a debt ceiling increase in the funding bill, which Republicans say they do not want to support and demand Democrats take political pressure for the increase.

The Treasury Department said the debt limit would be exceeded in October if it was not lifted, warning of the consequences for the U.S. economy.

The accumulated debt that necessitated the limit increase was not amassed by a single party, but Republicans associate the increase with the Democrats’ plan to allow billions of dollars in spending on welfare programs.

Government spending legislation needs 60 votes to break an obstruction in the Senate, which means at least 10 Republicans are expected to break ranks.

“We will support a clean, ongoing resolution that prevents a government shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said before the vote. “We will not provide Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling.”

Republicans want Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in a separate bill, the massive multibillion-dollar package they plan to vote in a party line vote. Democrats refused, saying they would not set a precedent in which a single party is responsible for paying the country’s bills, which both parties have accumulated over many years.

“If the Republicans follow through on their plan to vote no, they will be willfully sabotaging our country’s ability to pay the bills and possibly causing the very first default in American history,” said Senate Majority Leader , Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Monday, warning of “another recession” if that happens.

“So I want my Republican colleagues to think carefully about the practical consequences of what they are doing,” he said, warning that the government might not be able to send social security checks or provide checks. veteran benefits in this scenario.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer argued in a statement last week that an extension of the debt limit until December 2022 “would provide a term proportional to the debt incurred as a result of the passage of last winter’s bipartisan $ 908 billion COVID emergency relief legislation, ”which they noted many Republicans supported and then President Donald Trump said. promulgated the law.

The bill also includes billions of dollars in disaster assistance for recent storms and wildfires, as well as money to help people evacuated after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan.

At the same time, the House is expected to vote on Thursday on an infrastructure bill that Progressive Democrats have threatened to block to maximize their influence over a separate multibillion-dollar package. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday.

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