The World Forum - May 20th, 2024


What happens in a US government shutdown?


The US is days away from its 22nd government shutdown in 50 years. Why is this happening and what will it mean for Americans?

The deadline for Congress to pass a new budget to keep funding government agencies is midnight on Saturday.

Without a deal, some key departments will no longer operate from Sunday.

Many federal government agencies rely on annual funding approved by Congress.

Every year, these agencies submit their requests, which Congress must pass, and the president must sign budget legislation for the next fiscal year.

If agreement is not reached by the start of the fiscal year on 1 October, then there is a shutdown where all non-essential discretionary functions are discontinued.

Usually when the deadline looms, lawmakers from both parties agree on temporary funding based on the previous year's requests.

This is called a continuing resolution and is a stop-gap way to keep agencies open until the annual budget is agreed.