US Senate rejects budget bill

Washington, Oct 1 — The US Senate Monday rejected a budget bill, cleared by the lower house of the US Congress earlier, with barely hours to go to avert a US government’s shutdown, BBC reported.

The Democratic-led Senate, the upper house, voted 54-46 against the bill, which would fund the government only if President Barack Obama’s healthcare law were delayed a year.

Also, the Senate eliminated the provision repealing a tax on medical devices that are intended to help finance the healthcare law.

The vote left little progress toward reaching an agreement on funding the government by midnight Monday, when the current fiscal year expires.

In case, no agreement is reached by midnight (04.00 GMT), the government will close all non-essential federal services. The shutdown would be the first in 17 years in the US.

The US shutdown would send over 700,000 federal workers home while closing down national parks, museums, federal buildings and services.

Though the nation’s 1.4 million active-duty uniformed military personnel would stay on duty, about half of the defence department’s 800,000 civilian employees would have to stop work.

There is a blanket exception for activities that “provide for the national security”.

But where employees are needed to work, they may have to do so without pay: “Military and other civilians directed to work would be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriation ends,” said Defence Department Comptroller Robert Hale.

Republicans in the House of Representatives – and their allies in the Senate – have demanded the law be repealed or stripped of funding as a condition for continuing to fund the government.

Major portions of the law, passed in 2010 and has been validated by the US Supreme Court, are due to take effect Tuesday.

The Senate, or the upper house of the US Congress has several exclusive powers not granted to the House.

It includes consenting to treaties as a pre-condition to their ratification and consenting to or confirming appointments of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers, as well as trial of federal officials impeached by the House.


Source: IANS

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