US Senate votes on budget, avoiding paralysis

(Washington) The American Congress adopted on Saturday a text aimed at financing the federal state until September and preventing the world’s leading economic power from slipping into a “shutdown”, the paralysis of its public services.

The senators did not approve this text before the fateful deadline of midnight on Friday, supposed to trigger this paralysis. But elected officials ended up agreeing on the final adoption of this 1,200 billion dollar finance law.

“It was not easy, but our perseverance was worth it,” declared the Democratic leader of the US Senate Chuck Schumer from the hemicycle, after hours of intense negotiations with the Republicans.

“It is good for the Americans that we have reached an agreement,” he added, before the final approval of the text.

This small delay should have no major impact on the American departments which risked being deprived of funding due to lack of agreement.

A year of chaos

More than a great danger for the United States, these last minute twists and turns illustrate the chaos reigning in the American Congress.

Over the past year, the institution has dismissed one of its leaders, failed to send funds to Ukraine and only narrowly avoided the bankruptcy of the world’s leading economic power.

Friday morning, the vote on the federal state budget in the House of Representatives, which was also supposed to approve this text, was also the scene of spectacular developments.

A few minutes after the vote, elected official Marjorie Taylor Greene, close to Donald Trump, declared that she had filed a motion to oust the head of the institution, Republican Mike Johnson, whom she accused of “treason”.


Marjorie Taylor Greene

A handful of ultraconservative elected officials criticize the Republican, in office since October, of having made too many budgetary concessions to the Democrats.

“We need a new speaker,” said the elected official, known for her escapades, her provocations and her insulting remarks, to journalists.

This twist of theater also has an air of déjà vu.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was impeached only a few months ago in a very similar scenario.

Will Mike Johnson be the second Republican leader to bear the brunt of budget negotiations?

The tension surrounding the adoption of these budget laws is such that the United States has so far failed to adopt any budget for 2024 – a situation that no other major global economy faces.

Instead, they operated for months through the adoption of mini-budgets, expiring after a few weeks, a headache for US government departments.

Funds cut for UNRWA

If passed, the bill debated this week would extend the US budget until the end of the fiscal year, September 30.

This 1012-page text, the result of very acrimonious negotiations, contains measures which would have strong repercussions abroad.

The text thus prohibits any direct funding from the United States to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, at the heart of a controversy since Israel accused 12 of its approximately 13,000 employees at the end of January of Gaza to be involved in the deadly October 7 attack perpetrated by Hamas.

The bill also contains hundreds of millions of dollars for Taiwan, but does not release any funding for Ukraine, with the envelope for Kyiv being the subject of separate negotiations.

The text debated on Friday also contains several measures linked to immigration, an explosive subject in the middle of the presidential campaign, and a litany of provisions not necessarily linked to the budget.

For example, the ban on American embassies from flying the rainbow flag, the standard of the LGBT+ community, contrary to what some of them were accustomed to doing on the occasion of “Pride Month”.

A text adopted on March 9 had already made it possible to complete another part of the 2024 budget.

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