Title: US Congress Faces Impending Government Shutdown as Ukraine Aid Remains a Stumbling Block
BY DABIN YOON
New York Times Correspondent
Washington, D.C. – The ongoing budget negotiations within the US Congress for the upcoming fiscal year (October 2023 to September 2024) have hit a roadblock, leaving the federal government teetering on the brink of a temporary shutdown. According to the US Treasury, the projected date for the potential suspension of operations is a mere five days away. While several issues have contributed to this stalemate, the provision of additional aid in light of the extended conflict in Ukraine has emerged as the primary sticking point.
Divergent Views on Ukrainian Aid
As reported by the New York Times (NYT) on the 25th, legislators find themselves at odds over allocating up to $25 billion (approximately 33.7 trillion won) in supplementary funds for Ukraine, a request made by President Joe Biden’s administration. Support for Ukraine has garnered bipartisan momentum in the US Senate. However, in the House of Representatives, which is under Republican control, a faction of hardliners is advocating for a cessation of aid, amplifying divisions within the Republican Party.
In fact, some staunch Republicans have gone so far as to threaten the potential removal of their party’s Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, should he align with the ruling Democratic Party by supporting aid to Ukraine. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, colloquially known as ‘Trump in high heels,’ has taken to pressuring her fellow legislators to halt the budgetary processing for the Ministry of National Defense.
Escalating Conflict and International Concerns
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year, the US Congress has provided military, humanitarian, and economic assistance totaling $113 billion (approximately 152 trillion won) to Ukraine. In response, Ukrainian forces claim to have launched successful missile and drone attacks, resulting in the reported deaths of 34 Russian officers, including the commander of the Black Sea Fleet. However, the prospect of a prolonged conflict looms large, with Russia set to significantly increase its defense budget next year, amounting to approximately 150 trillion won or 6% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Consequently, divisions have surfaced amongst Western nations that previously supported Ukraine’s war efforts.
Countdown to Shutdown
With the expiration of US federal government spending laws approaching on the 30th of this month, corresponding to the conclusion of the current fiscal year, time is running out. Failure to pass a new budget would result in around 800,000 government personnel being forced on unpaid leave, excluding essential personnel, as of midnight on the 1st of next month, effectively commencing the new financial year. Moody’s, one of the world’s three major credit rating agencies, has sounded the alarm, warning of the potentially adverse impact on the United States’ national credit rating in the event of a shutdown.
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Due to difficulties in the budget negotiations of the US Congress for the next fiscal year (October 2023 to September 2024), the date of the federal government ‘shutdown’ (temporary suspension of operations) estimated by the US Treasury is five days away . Whether to provide additional aid due to the extension of the war in Ukraine is becoming the final issue in negotiations.
According to the New York Times (NYT) on the 25th (local time), the negotiations are in a situation where up to $25 billion (about 33.7 trillion won) in the additional aid budget for Ukraine the the Joe Biden administration asked for it. In the US Senate, support for Ukraine is gaining bipartisan support, but in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the opposition Republican Party, there are strong calls for an end to support for Ukraine, led by hardliners in the Republican Party.
Some hardliners are warning that their party’s Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy will be removed from his position if he agrees with the ruling Democratic Party to support Ukraine. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, nicknamed ‘Trump in high heels,’ was posted on She pressured her fellow legislators not to process the related budget bill for the Ministry of National Defense.
The US Congress has provided military, humanitarian and economic aid worth $113 billion (about 152 trillion won) to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. The Ukrainian military is on the offensive, claiming to have killed 34 officers, including the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, through missile and drone attacks. However, it is noted that prolonging the war is inevitable, with Russia also significantly increasing the defense budget next year to around 150 trillion won, or 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Accordingly, voices of division are emerging from Western countries that supported the war in Ukraine.
US federal government spending laws expire on the 30th of this month, when this fiscal year ends. If the new budget is not processed, around 800,000 government-related workers, excluding essential personnel, will be forced to go on unpaid leave from midnight on the 1st of next month when the next financial year begins. Moody’s, one of the world’s three largest credit rating agencies, warned that “the shutdown will have a negative impact on the national credit rating of the United States.”
Reporter Dabin Yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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