Stephen FoleyTea Party wrangling brings another shutdown threat
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Tuesday 27 September 2011
Six months after a budget stand-off that came within minutes of shutting the federal government, and barely eight weeks after Congress came within a whisker of defaulting on the nation's debts, the supposedly routine business of governing the US is once again being threatened by political wrangling.
A dispute over a tiny fraction of the federal budget has blown up into a full budget crisis, with the result that disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Irene and the devastating tornadoes of earlier this year could be shut off from today. Without a deal, large parts of the federal government may have to begin shutting down from this weekend.
What would normally have been a procedural vote to keep the government funded into November has become the latest flashpoint for the Tea Party movement of fiscally conservative Republicans, who argued that even disaster relief funding must be paid for by offsetting cuts elsewhere in the government's budget. The disputed funds amount to less than $4bn out of a budget bill that would allocate about $1 trillion of government spending.
Democrats are refusing to concede to Republican demands for cuts to government programmes that provide lending for green energy companies and car companies developing new fuel efficient technologies. Congress, whose members would otherwise have returned home this week, were still in Washington battling over the issue yesterday.
Tea Party members in the lower House of Representatives unexpectedly killed the first attempt to pass a funding bill, which originally had support from the Republican leadership, and pushed through a second bill that included quid pro cuts. The Democrat-controlled Senate killed that bill last Friday. The Senate was last night scheduled to vote on the original funding bill, even though it has no chance of becoming law.
Mark Warner, a senior Senate Democrat, speaking on CNN, said the party was simply asking "why should we rebuild schools in Iraq on the credit card but expect that rebuilding schools in Joplin, Missouri, have to be paid for in a way unlike any of the previous disaster assistance?"
As the dispute continued, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was scrambling to stretch its budget to the end of the week. The repeat threat of shutdowns this year has sapped the public's already limited patience with Congress. Its approval rating is at an all-time low of 12 per cent.
Newcastle manager taunted again as his side loses to Stoke
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before a character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...