Congress Returns, Working to Prevent Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON, D.C.. - The clock is ticking for congress to finalize major spending bills. If they can’t reach an agreement before the end of the month, a government shutdown will happen. A short term funding measure will be the focus on the Hill. The government's fiscal year ends on September 30th and both chambers only meet for just a handful of days this month.
Congressional leaders and the president are looking to pass what's called a continuing resolution. It is a temporary spending bill that keeps the government up and running without disruptions. They could pass this to buy some time to work on a complete budget. We can also expect lawmakers to look at funding for Ukraine and disaster relief as part of this funding.
If congress can’t come to a resolution before midnight on September 30th, a shutdown could happen. Meaning, we expect to see mass furloughs for federal employees which could also put a strain on services. For example, social security payments will still be sent out but benefit verification as well as card issuance would end, inspecting sites for hazardous waste and drinking water could be halted, air travel would get disrupted, national parks could close, just to name a few.
Negotiations for these spending bills could face some major hurdles in the coming weeks. Some hard right republicans in the House are hoping to load up conservative policies in these spending packages, something the democratic led Senate is likely to reject. These policies could include blocking abortion coverage and transgender healthcare and diversity initiatives in the military spending package. But they’re also calling to spend even less than what Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R- CA) and President Biden agreed to a few months ago as part of a bill to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.
Before congress left for their August recess, some of those hard right House republicans said they embraced the idea of a government shutdown to lower non-defense spending. According to reports, a government shutdown doesn’t necessarily have widespread impacts on the economy unless a shutdown drags on for weeks.