Congress moves to prevent a government shutdown with deadline hours away

A visitor runs around Washington Monument, near the U.S. Capitol, at dawn in Washington, U.S.A, September 29, 2021.
The Senate will move first to pass a temporary appropriations bill to keep the government operating through December 3. The House would approve the plan, and then send it to President Joe Biden, if there are no delays.

Congress will be racing to stop a government shutdown on Thursday, with only hours left before the midnight deadline.

The government shutdown could result in furloughs for federal workers or the suspension of some services. Even though the Biden administration claims that a shutdown will have minimal effect on public health functions, a funding lapse could present a problem in the United States' efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Congress can end one crisis on Thursday, but another is looming. To prevent the default of U.S. debt, which could lead to job loss, economic damage, and a fall in stock markets, lawmakers must raise or suspend the debt limit before Oct. 18.

Democrats control both chambers and tried to fund the government while suspending the debt ceiling in the same bill. The legislation was blocked by the Senate Republicans, even though the extension of the ceiling does not imply new spending. Approval would allow the Treasury to pay its obligations.

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky) has stated that his party will vote in favor of a funding bill, without suspending the debt ceiling.

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