The United States on Friday appeared headed toward shutdown federal amid difficulties facing Congress in ensuring the continuation of the work of agencies, sparing national parks from closure, and avoiding suspending the salaries of federal and military employees.
The shutdown, which will affect federal government and public services after midnight on Saturday (04:00 GMT Sunday), will be the first since 2019, and it appears that the chances of avoiding it are diminishing as lawmakers reach a deadlock in terms of approving a short-term spending bill.
A state of stagnation prevails over both chambers of Congress, as a small group of hardline Republican representatives reject any temporary measure that would spare the country from closing federal institutions.
On Friday, the House of Representatives announced a plan to extend funding until early November on the condition of reducing spending in general by about 30%, with the exception of sectors such as defense and disaster relief.
The administration of US President Joe Biden announced that it would object to the plan.
A statement by White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, “They are contradicting their statements by abandoning an agreement between the two parties that two-thirds of them voted for about four months ago”.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said Friday that hardline Republican lawmakers must find a solution to the impasse, telling reporters that there is still an opportunity to avoid closing federal institutions.
But Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy holds Democrats responsible for what turned out, and says they are obstructing the solution.
The shutdown would jeopardize the financial resources allocated to workers at national parks, museums and other federally funded sites.
National parks will be closed, but according to the homeland security, only the sections that are actually accessible to the public will remain open, but with reduced services.
Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council at the White House, said that the closure puts the largest economy in the world at unnecessary risk.
According to Brainard, the risks include flight delays, as air traffic controllers will be required to work without salaries, and families may be deprived of some benefits.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the closure could delay infrastructure modernization work.
The longest period of budget paralysis in the United States lasted 35 days between December 2018 and January 2019.
However, services considered essential will continue.
The only solution to avoid a shutdown is to reach a last-minute agreement between Democrats and Republicans.