The US Congress probably averted a feared shutdown of government business just shortly before the deadline. The Senate approved an interim budget on Saturday evening (local time) that prevents a so-called shutdown. Now President Joe Biden has to sign the law – that is considered likely.

The 45-day bridging budget does not contain any aid for Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia. Biden’s Democrats therefore grudgingly supported the bill in order to prevent a shutdown. The budget dispute has exposed the deep divisions among Republicans.

The term of the budget approved by the US Congress at the end of last year ends at the end of this month. By then, a new federal budget had to be decided in order to avert insolvency. The political wrangling repeats itself every year – Congress usually makes do with passing an interim budget and then argues again in a few months about the financing of government operations for the coming year. That’s how it is in this case too.

Kevin McCarthy puts pressure on Democrats

The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, unexpectedly presented the interim budget on Saturday morning, putting the Democrats under pressure. The government’s business will now continue to be financed at the level of the previous budget until mid-November.

Further aid to Ukraine was a priority for the White House. The Democrats were now faced with the question of whether they would accept a government shutdown in the dispute over support for Kiev. The currently approved aid for Ukraine will soon run out.

The Pentagon reportedly warned that there wasn’t much money left for military aid. In the end, the majority of Democrats still voted for the bridge budget in order to avert the shutdown. President Biden is expected to sign the budget – also because it includes disaster aid that he has requested.

The interim budget also does not contain any drastic spending cuts. That could get the Republican McCarthy even more into trouble. Because radical MPs in his group had demanded exactly that – and pushed and exposed McCarthy in the past few days. Republicans only have a narrow majority in the House chamber, which gives the extreme Republicans in the caucus particular power. Some of them have recently more or less openly threatened to drive McCarthy out of office. The Republican only came into office at the beginning of the year after 15 rounds of voting because parts of his party refused to support him.