Politics Congress scrambles to avoid government shutdown days before deadline
Constant threats to government funding fail the American public
Instead of repeatedly playing this risky game and courting repeated disaster let’s take steps to prevent it from happening again. Congress owes the public a government that works. Let's hold lawmakers to that duty. Max Stier is the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to building a better government and stronger democracy.
WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders areto avoid a government shutdown with less than four days to go before funding runs out.
Lawmakers face a series of obstacles, chief of which is that the two parties disagree on how long to push the deadline into the future.
Lawmakers have until the end of Friday to find a solution. Without a bill signed by President Joe Biden, non-essential government services will cease operations.
Democrats are coalescing around a short-term bill to maintain federal funding through January, according to aides and lawmakers.
"It'll probably be late-ish January," said Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., adding that he doesn't want to go beyond that because it could create complacency about negotiating a larger deal.
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Both chambers of Congress will be working to try to avoid a government shut and default, as well approve a must-pass national security package.Both chambers of Congress will be working in overdrive to try to avoid a government shut and default, both of which would be catastrophic for the economy, which has already been grappling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Republicans want to push it to later, and they have the power to filibuster the bill in the Senate.
"I'd rather go to February or March right now," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee. "I think it'd give us more time to seriously sit down."
Shelby is confident lawmakers will work out an agreement.
"I don't think it'll shut down," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that Democrats plan to act quickly, with the House likely to go first.
"As soon as tomorrow, the House is expected to take action to pass a CR [continuing resolution] that will fund the government into next year. Senate Democrats are ready to pass this legislation, get it done as quickly as possible to avoid a needless shutdown," he said in a floor speech. "If Republicans choose obstruction, there will be a shutdown entirely because of their own dysfunction."
Northwest Nigeria state ends telecom blackout over bandit attacks
Local government officials in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state have lifted a near three-month telecoms shutdown imposed to end a surge of violence and kidnappings by criminal gangs. On Friday authorities in Kaduna State also lifted a telecom blackout imposed on some parts of the state. Information commissioner Samuel Aruwan said security agencies had signed off on the move.A telecom shutdown is still in force in parts of Katsina and Sokoto states after bandits fleeing the military operations in Zamfara relocated there.They continue to carry out attacks on communities.
Government funding must be approved annually with a new set of spending beginning each October. When lawmakers can't agree on a spending bill, they typically pass short-term legislation to keep spending at the same level, which means no changes to programs.
That is the route Congress took earlier this year, hoping it would give them time to negotiate a spending bill that allows them to adjust some spending levels.
Democrats are eager to strike that deal, with some complaining that the government is still operating at spending levels agreed to in the Trump administration. But those Democrats are reluctant to force a government shutdown over it.
Leahy said the sticking point is "toplines," or reaching an agreement with Republicans on just how much money the federal government should spend next year.
The Vermont Democrat said part of the problem is "some" Republicans may not want to reach a deal because they prefer to maintain funding at Trump-era levels.
Congress hopes to avoid a government shutdown as Friday deadline approaches
Washington and Wall Street were optimistic Monday that Congress can pass a bill to fund the government and avert a partial shutdown before a Friday deadline. Democrats and Republicans appeared to be coalescing around a bill to fund the government through late January or early February, a personal familiar with the discussions told CNBC. A lapse in government funding can lead to furloughs of federal workers and a lapse in some government services.
"There are others who realized they're not going to get the things they want," he said.
The House will need to move quickly to give the Senate time to pass a bill. The process could be significantly slowed if any individual senator objects and drags out the process beyond the deadline.
In 2018, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., single-handedlya brief shutdown by objecting to a speedy vote on a spending agreement.
Further complicating matters, the Senate is struggling to wrap up the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill stalled on Monday as Republicans demanded more time for debate and amendments.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said as long as Democrats don't try to jam contentious add-ons into the short-term spending bill he thinks lawmakers will reach an agreement.
"From my perspective, as long as we don't let the CR be the Grinch that steals Christmas, that's a good thing."
On The Money — All about the new jobs report .
Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Today's Big Deal: We're digging into the latest jobs report. We'll also tell you more about how Congress averted a federal government shutdown.For The Hill, we're Sylvan Lane and Naomi Jagoda. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or @SylvanLane and email@example.com or @NJagoda. You can reach our Finance team colleague Aris Folley at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ArisFolley.Let's get to it.