The specter of a shutdown – freezing of non-essential federal activities due to lack of funding – was once again ruled out at the last minute in Congress, or rather postponed. The Senate confirmed by 87 votes to 11, Wednesday, November 15, the plan voted the day before in the House of Representatives.
This plan, designed by the new speaker, Mike Johnson, extends part of the funding until January 19, and another until February 2. The Thanksgiving holiday, Thursday November 23, a great moment of family reunions and air traffic in the United States, is saved. Mike Johnson had to rely on Democratic votes and accept the loss of 96 votes in his own party to avoid a crisis for which the Republicans should have taken responsibility. In doing so, he chose a pragmatic path identical to that of his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, on September 30, who lost his position. But Mike Johnson, an ardent Christian conservative, is much more popular among the extremist ranks of his party, who do not want to call for his head at this stage. “I’ve been at this job for less than three weeks, okay?, said Mike Johnson. I can’t turn an aircraft carrier around overnight. »
No more means
But elected officials from the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus parliamentary group in the House intend to demand cuts in federal spending in January. Their pressure and their weight on the right had already prompted the speaker to support exceptional aid of 14.3 billion dollars (13.19 billion euros) for Israel, but conditional on a reduction of the same magnitude in the budget of the tax services (IRS). This text was ignored by the Senate, under a Democratic majority, where a broad consensus reigns in favor of unconditional aid for America’s allies, in response to their security needs.
This is, in fact, the other major lesson of this temporarily avoided shutdown. The immediate victims of this compromise, which completely satisfies no one, are Ukraine, and, to a lesser extent, Israel. The White House had in fact asked Congress to adopt a comprehensive aid package to its two allies at war, as well as to Taiwan, and to finance the security of the border with Mexico, in a total amount of almost 106 billion dollars. kyiv was the first beneficiary (61 billion). Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine has already received more than $44 billion in military aid from Washington.
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