US govt shutdown looms as Republican senator block spending bill

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PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW YORK'S HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER

Senate Republicans have blocked a spending bill as a government shutdown and a debt default looms, saying they would refuse to vote for any policy that raises the debt ceiling, a routine procedure that authorizes the U.S. Treasury to finance existing obligations.

The bill to extend government funding and cover emergency assistance failed to pass the Senate on Monday evening after it narrowly passed the House along party lines earlier in the month.

The Democrats needed 60 votes to move the measure along but failed to attract a single Republican to cross the aisle during the Monday vote, which downed the measure with a tally of 48 in favor to 50 against with two not voting.

Democrats sought to pass the bill to stave off a government shutdown on Thursday when government coffers go dry and to raise the debt ceiling before mid-October in order to avoid defaulting for the first time in history.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat-New York, lashed out at his GOP colleagues for putting the United States in this position.

“I want to make sure everyone understands exactly what has happened on the Senate floor: The Republican Party has now become the party of default, the party that says America doesn’t pay its debts,” Schumer said from the floor following the vote. “Our country is staring down the barrel of two totally Republican-manufactured disasters – a government shutdown and a first-ever default on the national debt, the impacts of both would gravely harm every single American in this country.”

The result of the vote, which Schumer had earlier called, was expected as not one Republican had voiced support for the bill despite the GOP having lifted the debt ceiling multiple times during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Schumer said the Democrats will be taking further action this week to prevent the shutdown without specifying the plans.

“What the Republicans in the senate did tonight is not normal,” he said. “This isn’t your typical Washington fracas and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It has far more severe consequences than the typical political catfight.” CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE

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