The specter of paralysis was pushed back on Thursday, January 18, in the United States with the vote by the American Congress of a much-anticipated provisional budget measure for the federal state.

After the Senate earlier in the afternoon, the House of Representatives adopted the text so that the funding of several federal administrations, which was to expire Friday evening at midnight, be extended for six weeks until March 1. Without this, thousands of civil servants would be forced into technical unemployment, particularly air traffic controllers.

The House of Representatives approved the measure by 314 votes to 108 to avoid this famous partial “shutdown”, the opposition coming mainly from the most conservative members of the Republican camp. Nearly half of Republicans nevertheless joined Democrats in passing the third stopgap funding measure in recent months. Hours earlier, the Senate had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, by 77 votes to 18.

“Good news for America”

American elected officials were under pressure to quickly vote on this measure at the Capitol, while Washington expects snowfall on Friday and the House of Representatives has already canceled the polls scheduled for that day. The adopted text extends current spending levels and gives both chambers time to agree on a long-term budget and spending details.

“We have good news for America: there will be no shutdown on Friday,” said Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, during a speech to his colleagues. . “Because both parties have worked together, the government will remain open, services will not be disrupted, we will avoid unnecessary disaster,” he added.

The recurring inability of Congress to adopt a budget for the fiscal year (which began in October 2023) illustrates the dysfunctions within the American institutional apparatus. And financing measures adopted for a short period of time, like the one adopted Thursday, are often used to avoid budgetary paralysis.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden would sign the resolution and urged Republicans to agree to close the budget topic. “House Republicans must finally do their job and work together to pass full-year funding bills that meet the needs of the American people and urgent national security priorities, by passing the request additional from the President,” she said.

The thorny issues of aid to Ukraine and the border with Mexico

The text voted on Thursday was the subject of tough negotiations between Republicans, the majority in the lower house, and Democrats, the majority in the upper house. The disagreement between the two parties concerns expenditure items.

Joe Biden thus formulated a request for an additional $106 billion in the budget, mainly to help Ukraine, and to a lesser extent Israel. The leaders of both parties in the Senate are proponents of supporting Kiev, but a number of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives say such support is not in the interests of the United States.

Another thorny subject: the influx of migrants at the border with Mexico. Republicans and Democrats alike agree on the existence of a crisis but differ on the response to be made. The former particularly wish to limit the right to asylum and strengthen expulsion measures.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is under pressure from his right wing to abandon the $1.66 billion budget he agreed to with Chuck Schumer earlier this month.