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Puerto Rico, a United States territory, would also be affected at the budgetary level, mainly in Medicaid funds, if the legislative chambers in the federal Congress do not approve before midnight on Friday the extension of the financing of government agencies in order to avoid a closure of government.
The legislative leadership in Washington has few hours left to prevent the instrumentalities of the State from running out of funds to operate.
To avoid this, Democrats and Republicans must agree to pass legislation that allows federal funding to be extended for a few more weeks.
This Thursday afternoon, Democratic and Republican leaders of the House of Representatives announced that they had reached a agreement to pass a law aimed at preventing closure and increase funding until February 18.
The report by the Efe news agency indicates that the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, announced that the agency vote on the deal today so the Senate can consider the measure before government funds expire on Friday at midnight.
Nearly $ 3 billion in Medicaid funds at risk for Puerto Rico
As for Puerto Rico, the allocation of nearly $ 3 billion a year in funds from the Medicaid program is in jeopardy.
The Joe Biden Administration has insisted that a 2019 law allows it to permanently assign that figure to Puerto Rico.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently assured El Nuevo Día that they remain firm in their intention to allocate $ 2,943 million to the island for the federal fiscal year 2022.
“Federal Medicaid funding is critical to ensuring life-saving coverage for so many people in the United States. When determining the limits for federal Medicaid funds, CMS found that Medicaid allocation levels for fiscal year 2022 are consistent with legal requirements, “added the CMS spokesperson to the Caribbean island newspaper.
However, the situation in the Capitol puts the process in check.
Legislators had differences over the duration of the legislation to keep the government operational.
While some want new funding to be made until mid-to-late January, others prefer that funding be extended only until December 17.
Despite the differences, what the majority agree on is that it is necessary avoid a closure in the middle of the Christmas period like the one registered 3 years ago under the presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021) and guarantee the salary of thousands of federal employees.
The previous one was longest shutdown in US history and lasted 35 days. Since 1976, the Administration has run out of funds 20 times, but no occasion was like 2018.
Another budget issue for Congress to consider is the debt ceilingThis is to prevent the US from defaulting on its national debt on December 15.
As in the previous discussion, disagreements between Democrats and Republicans nearly led to suspension of payments in October. However, Congress finally managed to temporarily increase the debt limit, while deferring the issue until now. This time, Republicans in the Senate seek approve the suspension with the mechanism known as “reconciliation”. Democrats, for their part, prefer to use that tool to pass the $ 1.75 billion social investment plan known as “Build Back Better” (BBB) or “Rebuild Better” in the Senate.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.