Pressure mounts on US Congress to avoid ‘shutdown’ before election

An energy bill, which Democrats have pledged to include in the resolution, is causing bipartisan frenzies and hampering discussions.

US elected officials were negotiating behind the scenes on Monday, September 26 to reach a temporary agreement that would avoid paralysis of the federal state – the famous “shutdown– before the midterm elections in November. Federal services are threatened with suspension at midnight Friday, for lack of budget.

Lawmakers are discussing a measure that would extend funding until mid-December, and is expected to include more than $12 billion in economic and military aid to Ukraine. They should also include an envelope for Afghan refugees, another for winter heating allowances for low-income families, as well as aid to Jackson, a town in Mississippi, where floods have wreaked havoc.

But an energy bill, which Democrats have pledged to include in the resolution, is causing bipartisan frenzies and hampering discussions. This text would speed up the permitting process for energy infrastructure – both for fossil fuel projects and the clean energy initiatives championed by President Joe Biden.

But Republicans don’t want to give Democrats another legislative victory about 40 days away from an election that will determine who will control Congress for the rest of Mr. Biden’s first term. Democrats are also opposed to the text, defended by the centrist senator Joe Manchin, judging it risky for the environment.

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Low probability of a “shutdown”

Analysts estimate the probability of ashutdownso close to the election. If the energy measure fails in a Senate vote on Tuesday, it could simply be dropped and the main vote on federal funding would go ahead.

So far there has been no “shutdownunder Joe Biden. His predecessor Donald Trump lived through two, including a 35-day one from late 2018 to early 2019 that was the longest in US history.

Such a paralysis would risk wreaking havoc by forcing hundreds of thousands of federal employees into layoffs. It also deprives certain social programs of funds.

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