Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Home » After Shutdown Averted, Capitol Hill Showdown on the Horizon

After Shutdown Averted, Capitol Hill Showdown on the Horizon

by Elis Carter
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Staring down a possible government shutdown, the White House wanted to make sure any blame would fall at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue — specifically on House Republicans.

After all, it was the majority party in the House that had been paralyzed until Saturday by an inability to pass a funding package, stymied by members who don’t want to uphold a bipartisan spending agreement from earlier this year.

President Joe Biden is hoping the rest of the country would see things the same way. It’s a murky proposition at a time of extreme political polarization, with many Americans dug into their partisan corners regardless of the facts of the matter.

With a deadline looming, Congress on Saturday approved a short-term funding bill to keep federal agencies open through Nov. 17, and Biden quickly signed it. Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for steep spending cuts, but also cut aid for Ukraine.

In a statement, Biden said the bill was “good news for the American people.”

“But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis,” he said in a statement. “For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.”

Had Congress not acted by the end of the day, federal workers would have stop getting paid, air travel might have been ensnarled by staffing shortages and food benefits would pause for some of the country’s most vulnerable families.

Asked on Friday if Biden should bear any responsibility for the potential shutdown, White House budget director Shalanda Young said “absolutely not” and accused Republicans of being cavalier with people’s lives.

“The guy who picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck,” she said. “That’s real. And that’s what makes me angry.”

Anita Dunn, Biden’s senior adviser, blamed threat of shutdown on “the most extreme fringe” of House Republicans in a presentation to allies on Thursday. She said “we have to hold them accountable” and “make sure they pay the political price.”

Source : VOA News

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