The US Congress is scrambling to pass a deal to avoid a disruptive government shutdown due to start at 00:01 EST (05:01 BST) on Saturday.
The House of Representatives is considering a bill to extend government funding for 45 days, which needs two-thirds of the vote to pass. Faced with a rebellion by hard-line Republicans in his party, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy needs support from Democrats. The bill also must pass the Senate.
A shutdown would mean government employees would be furloughed without pay and would affect everything from air travel to marriage licenses to food aid.
What happens in a US government shutdown?
A government shutdown occurs when Congress is unable to agree on a budget and funding for federal agencies lapses. This can have a significant impact on government services, as well as the economy.
In a shutdown, most non-essential government employees are furloughed, meaning they are temporarily laid off without pay. Essential employees, such as military personnel and air traffic controllers, remain on the job, but may not be paid until the shutdown is over.
A shutdown can also have a ripple effect on the economy. For example, businesses that rely on government contracts may be forced to close or lay off workers. And consumers may be less likely to spend money, knowing that the government could shut down again at any time.
Why is the US government on the brink of a shutdown?
The US government is on the brink of a shutdown because of a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over spending. Republicans have been demanding cuts to government spending, while Democrats have resisted these cuts.
The two parties have been unable to agree on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1. If they do not reach an agreement by the end of the day on September 30, the government will shut down.
What are the chances of a government shutdown?
The chances of a government shutdown are high. Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree on a budget for months, and there is no sign that they will be able to reach an agreement before the deadline.
A government shutdown would be a major inconvenience for Americans, and it could also have a negative impact on the economy. It is important for Congress to reach an agreement on a budget as soon as possible to avoid a shutdown.
Credits: BBC News
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