Government shutdown looms as Senate rejects funding bill
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. –