Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has rejected a stopgap funding bill that was advancing in the Senate, potentially leading to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government. The Senate bill would fund the government through November 17, allowing lawmakers more time to agree on funding levels for the full fiscal year. McCarthy stated that he does not see support for the Senate plan in the House, despite it having the backing of Senate Republicans. The House is currently focused on trying to agree on more full-year funding bills, but passing these bills alone would not be enough to prevent a shutdown. President Joe Biden urged Republicans in the House to fund the government and warned of the potential impact of a shutdown on vital work and science.
If a government shutdown occurs, it could have wide-ranging effects on the federal government’s operations, from furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers to the suspension of government services such as economic data releases and nutrition benefits. The impasse between Democrats and Republicans has begun to attract the attention of ratings agencies, who have warned that a shutdown could damage the federal government’s credit-worthiness. While some hardline Republicans have dismissed the risks of a shutdown, others, including former President Donald Trump, have actively pushed for one. House Republicans are planning to bring their own stopgap measure to the floor on Friday, but it remains unclear if there will be enough votes to pass it.
The potential shutdown has raised concerns in Washington and beyond. Measures are being taken to determine which federal workers will remain on the job without pay until the government is funded and which ones will be furloughed. The standoff highlights the need for bipartisanship, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stating his opposition to a shutdown. The threat of a shutdown comes just months after the nation faced the risk of defaulting on its debt, and another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating could increase borrowing costs and the nation’s debt. Ultimately, the fate of government funding now rests on the ability of lawmakers to find a bipartisan solution before the looming deadline.