Gov­ern­ment shut­down looms as Se­nate re­jects fund­ing bill

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE US Se­nate re­jected stop­gap leg­is­la­tion to fund gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions, send­ing law­mak­ers scram­bling to stave off a shut­down at the end of the week in the heat of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

The tem­po­rary spend­ing bill fell 45-55, well short of the 60 votes needed to ad­vance in the cham­ber.

The fis­cal year ends on Septem­ber 30. Should Congress fail to pass a bill ap­prov­ing fed­eral spend­ing – or in this case, ex­tend­ing ex­ist­ing spend­ing lev­els un­til De­cem­ber 9 – by mid­night to­mor­row, some gov­ern­ment of­fices and op­er­a­tions could shut­ter.

The bud­get de­bate re­volves around how to fund the on­go­ing wa­ter cri­sis in Flint, Michi­gan, where thou­sands of res­i­dents are grap­pling with lead­con­tam­i­nated wa­ter.

Sev­eral Democrats voted against the gov­ern­ment fund­ing bill ap­par­ently be­cause they ob­jected to its pro­vi­sion of money for Louisiana emer­gency flood re­lief with­out pro­vid­ing any in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing for Flint.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, a Repub­li­can, hinted that lead­ers could re­file the bill with the Louisiana aid stripped out.

Flint fund­ing has al­ready passed the Se­nate in an­other piece of leg­is­la­tion. But the House ver­sion of that bill con­tains no money for the be­lea­guered city, rais­ing con­cerns that aid could be fur­ther de­layed.

With Repub­li­cans in con­trol of both the Se­nate and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, a gov­ern­ment shut­down could dent the party’s im­age just as Amer­i­cans pre­pare to choose be­tween Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump in the Novem­ber 8 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. –

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