10 Days Until Government Shutdown

Congress returned from its recess this week to a busy agenda and, most pressingly, only ten days to act before the federal government shuts down.

Congress has until the end of the day on December 8th to avoid a shutdown, which will begin at 12:01 AM EST on December 9th, absent any action.

Multiple obstacles stand in the way of reaching an agreement on either a budget or, more likely, a continuing resolution. President Trump has reiterated that he wishes Congress to include in any measure funds to begin constructing his proposed wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico, even as Government Executive notes that “Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee last week rejected the White House’s request for a hiring spree at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

But other sticking points also threaten any ultimate agreement, with Congressional Democrats insisting they will oppose any long-term measure that does not re-establish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, which was established during the Obama Administration and rescinded by the Trump Administration.

Debate over tax reform is also still pending, with a generally agreed-upon goal of completing the measure by the end of 2017. But as of yesterday, the third-ranking Republican Senator, Sen. John Thune (R-ND) was taking a cautious approach, saying, “I think in the end, we’ll get the votes. But it’s a process.” Politico cited “at least half a dozen GOP senators showing varying levels of concern about the legislation released earlier this month.”

Other moving pieces complicating Congressional Republicans’ ability to quickly arrive at a unanimous answer include ongoing debate over the status of the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and “the need to change the spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, as a result of Republicans’ push to increase defense spending while cutting appropriations for non-defense agencies.”

Earlier this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated Congress is likely to settle on another stopgap spending measure that would extend the current continuing resolution – the ninth consecutive continuing resolution – beyond the December 8th cutoff. The most recent government shutdown occurred during debate over Obamacare in 2013 and lasted for 17 days.

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: budget, government shutdown, federal pay, federal workforce, shutdown

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