Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The United States prepares for a probable budget paralysis

The United States prepares for a probable budget paralysis  US officials, who will soon be temporarily laid off or forced to work without pay, received official notifications on Thursday of the federal state budget shutdown, which will begin on Sunday if elected representatives in Congress do not do so . We couldn’t get along.

Employees of the federal administration and the army have been preparing for this “closure” for several days. But as the deadline approaches, and as Democrats and Republicans appear deadlocked, it seems increasingly inevitable.

The ministries and public services put themselves in battle order and informed their employees of the consequences they should anticipate.

“Previously designated and notified employees would be temporarily placed on technical unemployment, meaning they would not be authorized to work or use ministry resources,” the Health Ministry warned, in an email sent Thursday to employees and read by AFP.

They will then have to wait until the end of the “shutdown” to receive their salary, retroactively. The longest period of budget paralysis in the United States lasted 35 days in December 2018 and January 2019.

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Services considered “essential” would be maintained.

The only solution to avoid a brutal cut on Sunday, October 1 at midnight: a last-minute agreement between Democrats and Republicans.

“A dozen extremists”

A compromise was reached in the Senate on a short-term budget proposal that would give a few additional weeks to reach an agreement. It has the support of the vast majority of elected officials.

The situation, however, is blocked in the House of Representatives. A handful of Trumpist Republican elected officials refuse to lend their voice to any text that includes financial aid to Ukraine.

The White House continues to denounce these elected officials who block any agreement, just over a year before the presidential elections.

The leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, attacked the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. “A dozen extremists (…) have more influence over (Kevin) McCarthy than the majority of his party and the vast majority of the House of Representatives that he presides over,” he denounced.

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With a large part of civil servants on technical unemployment, ministries will function slowly until both chambers of Congress adopt the same budget text.

The Department of Health would see “a reduction in staff numbers in almost all divisions during this period,” details the email received by staff.

“Many of our most essential programs and activities would continue but with reduced staff,” he further clarified.

“The worst situation”

In the event of a paralysis that lasted only a few days, “our soldiers would be forced to continue working but they would do so without pay (…) and thousands of their civilian colleagues would be left without jobs,” the spokesman declared. of the Pentagon, Sabrina Singh.

“A shutdown is the worst situation,” he added, “which is why we continue to ask Congress to do its job and fund the government.”

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A paralysis would have very important consequences in a multitude of areas, from food aid that could be reduced to national parks that would no longer be maintained.

Calls to tax centers will go unanswered, the Treasury Department said.

This is also likely to severely disrupt air traffic, as air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officials will be affected.

In terms of transportation, a “shutdown” could have “disruptive and dangerous” consequences, US Transportation Minister Pete Buttigieg warned on Wednesday.

The spokesperson for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), interviewed on Thursday morning during a press conference, indicated that she considers this “an avoidable risk for the US economy.” “We encourage the parties to come together to reach a consensus on ways to fund the United States government,” added Julie Kozack.

Times of National
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