WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans aim to release a measure to avert a partial government shutdown on Saturday, the morning after Moody’s credit agency lowered its outlook on the government’s credit ratings to “negative.”
A knowledgeable source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said plans for the release of the continuing resolution, or “CR,” were still in motion. It was also unclear what form the measure would take.
US House Speaker Mike Johnson has spent days in talks with members of his slim 221-212 Republican majority about several CR options. The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate must agree on a vehicle for President Joe Biden to sign into law before current funding expires on Nov. 17.
Moody’s cited political polarization in Congress as a factor in the decision to downgrade the credit outlook and said Washington may not be able to agree on making its growing deficit more affordable.
The U.S. posted a $1.7 trillion deficit last year — the largest outside the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic — and rising interest rates mean the cost of servicing that debt will continue to grow.
Just a few months ago, Congress brought the United States to the brink of defaulting on its more than $31 trillion in debt, a move that would have shaken the world’s financial markets.
With a potential shutdown just days away, some Republicans have called for a “clean” CR that runs through mid-January and has no spending cuts or conservative policy riders, which Democrats oppose.
But hardline conservatives continue to push for a measure of spending cuts, policies including tighter security on the U.S.-Mexico border and an unorthodox structure with staggered deadlines for various parts of the federal budget.
Many lawmakers warn that a protracted partisan battle over a stopgap measure could prevent Congress from averting a shutdown.
As House Republicans debated their options this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took an initial procedural step toward moving his own space.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Grant McCool
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