The Biden administration on Thursday formally asked Congress for a short-term funding package to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1, kicking off a contentious struggle over spending with House Republicans.
(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration on Thursday formally asked Congress for a short-term funding package to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1, kicking off a contentious struggle over spending with House Republicans.
Even a stopgap measure to temporarily fund the government faces opposition from conservatives.
Hard-liners in the House Freedom Caucus have urged their colleagues to oppose any funding to keep open the government unless their demands for spending cuts and changes to border policies are met. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could put his job at risk if he works with Democrats to pass a stopgap measure without addressing conservative demands.
Congress hasn’t yet approved any of the 12 annual spending bills that typically fund the government. House Republicans have clashed with the Senate and Biden administration over funding levels for the federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have signaled they are open to temporary funding for the government. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for an extension of funding into December and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said such a bill was probable.
During a US shutdown, non-essential workers would be sent home while essential workers will continue to work without pay, although they get paid after the shutdown ends. Workers on the ground assisting in recovery from Hurricane Idalia and the Maui wildfires are considered essential. Congress usually authorizes back pay for the non-essential workers as well.
The Biden administration outlined temporary spending increases that it believes would be needed for a stopgap through mid-December. These include $1.85 billion for handling a surge of migrants which will prove controversial with the GOP. The request also includes $1.4 billion for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, which the White House says is at risk of being unable to feed all eligible applicants.
Biden is also seeking $40 billion in emergency spending as part of the stopgap package. This includes $12 billion for disaster assistance and $24 billion for the war in Ukraine and related international emergencies.
The White House is requesting $128 million to fund economic assistance to Pacific island nations with which the US is concluding talks to allow the US military unfettered access to their territories.
The administration is also seeking permission to spend money on the construction of the second submarine in the new Columbia-class nuclear submarine fleet made by General Dynamics Corp. Without that authority, the deployment of the future ballistic submarines could be delayed by 20 months, according to the White House.
–With assistance from Roxana Tiron.
(Updates with request to construct submarine in 10th paragraph)
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