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US Senate Passes Budget Package |  tagesschau.de

US Senate Passes Budget Package | tagesschau.de

As of: March 23, 2024 10:14 am

The U.S. Congress rarely prevented government business from coming to a standstill. The Senate voted on a $1.2 trillion budget package. Dissatisfaction is already brewing among Republicans.

The US Senate passed a trillion dollar budget package last time. Voting began a minute past midnight on Friday evening and ended on Saturday morning. Until recently, it was unclear whether there would be a partial halt in government business — a so-called shutdown.

In theory, this was short-lived, as the deadline ran out before the polls closed. But it had no real effect. US President Joe Biden still has to sign the law – which is considered a formality. The White House announced that night that it expected that to happen today.

A clear majority for the budget package

The budget was approved by the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon with a cross-party majority. A vote in the Senate was a short time ago not because of a lack of a majority, but because of the parliamentary tactics of Republican senators. In the end, 74 senators voted in favor of the budget package and 24 against.

The impact of the strike would initially have been minimal over the weekend, as most of the affected civil servants were not working anyway. It would have been problematic if the discussions had dragged on for another week.

The shutdown means millions of civil servants will no longer be paid. Many ministries and authorities have contingency plans for this situation. The extent to which a shutdown affects daily life and the economy in the United States ultimately depends on its length.

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Aid to Ukraine is not included

The just-passed $1.2 trillion budget package funds most of the U.S. government's operations for the current fiscal year through the end of September. It includes funds for defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor — but does not include new U.S. financial aid to other countries, such as Ukraine. A legislative package for that is currently stuck in the House of Representatives.

Republicans and Democrats agreed on a budget package earlier in the week after an initial, smaller budget package had already been passed.

As a rule, Congress agrees to a large overall package to finance government operations. It should have actually been accomplished last fall. Recently, however, Republicans have opposed this. They split the house. The second part was still pending. Both sets are now worth $1.66 trillion.

A motion against Johnson by Republicans

Debate over the budget had been going on for months. Meanwhile, Congress managed to pass several interim budgets. This has mainly to do with a beleaguered attitude among Republicans.

This Friday, the Republican-backed House of Representatives secured the necessary votes for a second budget package. However, the majority of the committee voted against it. Among other things, MPs called for major cuts in the budget.

A vote in his chamber could have ramifications for House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson. Far-right MP Marjorie Taylor Greene surprisingly introduced a motion to oust her party colleague from office. According to Green, this was only a “caution” initially. In his view, the budget package was a democratic budget which he did not support. At the same time, he explained: “We need a new leader.”

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