US Senators working out a stopgap legislation to prevent govt shut down

Washington:  US Senators fell into deep negotiations on Monday to avoid a potential government shutdown, with the house in utter chaos over the government’s spending plans, by working out a stopgap legislation and decide whether to include funding to Ukraine as part of it.

Senators of both parties are debating whether to include new military assistance for the fight against Russia in any stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded past the end of the month, The New York Times reported.

As the House of Representatives in the Congress has sunk into utter chaos over its spending plans with unrelenting Republicans demanding the government to trim its expenditure, Senators of both parties in a bipartisan approach were trying to hammer out a stopgap legislation to head of the government shutdown in four days and decide whether Ukraine funding should be part of it.

The Senators are working towards an emergency spending bill that would keep dollars flowing to federal agencies after the current fiscal year ends at midnight on Saturday.

People close to the negotiating Senators said a major sticking point was on whether to include US President Joe Biden’s proposal for an additional $25 billion in new assistance to Ukraine atop a continuing resolution, or to keep the legislation free of contentious provisions.

A “clean” measure could end up getting broader support among Republicans in the House, which would also have to pass it to keep the government open, media reports said.

Though a bipartisan approach is emerging in the Senate over Ukraine funding, officials said, some Republicans argued it could complicate Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s position to find a way out of the spending logjam.

Majority of the House Republicans oppose any more Ukraine funding, wanting to strip the bill and return it to the Senate, thus slowing down the process to stave off a government shutdown as the race for keeping government treasury open to agencies cries for more traction.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican from Georgia and close adviser to McCarthy on the political appetites, warned her colleagues against taking up a separate Pentagon spending bill.

She said that even a procedural vote to advance that legislation is tantamount to “a vote for BILLIONS in new blood money for the proxy war in Ukraine”, The New York Times said.

Impending Shutdown: The White House is prepping up federal agencies for a possible government shutdown as Republicans have shown no signs of progress in negotiations. Right-wing Republicans in the Congress have virtually brought Washington to its knees, spoiling for a shutdown, an impeachment and a House coup, media reports said.

Speaker McCarthy ordered an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, putting into motion the third formal bid by the Congress to remove a President in the past four years, The Daily said.

“How many Republicans will vote to give Biden a blank cheque to fund his proxy war with Russia in Ukraine?” Ms Greene wrote on X.

The Congress has so far approved over $113 billion in military, humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine in four tranches since the Russian invasion in February last year.

President Biden has sought another $24 billion of funding.Some Republicans were arguing that including money for Ukraine would present an added complication in trying to provide Speaker McCarthy with a way out of the spending logjam, reports said.

However, a coalition of Senators is pressing for the money for Ukraine to be included in the temporary spending measure. They argued it would be a grave mistake not to support Ukraine, particularly after President Volodymyr Zelensky met personally with members of the Senate during a visit last week and received assurances of continued assistance.

–IANS