Gov't shutdown threat is a fixture of U.S. politics but unknown elsewhere
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON Oct 1 (Reuters) - Bureaucrats in Brazil keep stamping visas and collecting taxes when the president and Congress battle over spending. In Romania, regulators keep issuing permits while the prime minister faces corruption charges.
In Washington, by contrast, U.S. agencies have spent weeks planning for a possible shutdown as Republicans in Congress have threatened to withhold funding from President Barack Obama's administration.
Congress stepped back from the brink on Wednesday, approving a temporary spending bill to keep the government operating through December. But experts said a government shutdown could loom again at that time.
In much of the developed world, politicians can lose their jobs if they fail to hammer out a budget. The United States is the only place where government employees are sent home instead.
Most countries keep funds flowing automatically during fiscal disputes, ensuring that day-to-day government functions are not disrupted.
In Belgium, trains kept rolling when a political stalemate left the country without a prime minister for five months in 2014. Even recession-wracked Greece has kept its bureaucracy running through six prime ministers since 2012.
"Threatening a shutdown is simply not an option," said Erik Voeten, a professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University.
Because power in the United States is divided between the president and Congress, funding simply runs out when the two sides cannot agree on a budget before the fiscal year ends. Continuación...