With a shutdown days away, Congress looks to regroup

A plan to pass an immigration bill this week to pave the way to a 2018 budget has gone awry, and it's not clear whether a temporary fix is workable before funding expires at midnight Jan. 19.

Shutterstock image (Orhan Cam): U.S. Capitol at night.
 

Warnings about a partial government shutdown are nothing new to feds, but the chances of the first closure and furloughs since 2013 appear to have increased this week in the wake of news that President Donald Trump slammed immigrants from "shithole countries" at a White House meeting with lawmakers and government officials.

The multiple controversies swirling around the comments are making a bipartisan immigration deal on young people with temporary protected status less likely. That, in turn, puts any bipartisan deal on 2018 funding in jeopardy and even puts at risk another short-term continuing resolution to buy time for negotiations.

The current continuing resolution funding the government is set to expire at midnight on Jan. 19.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, argued that the ball is squarely in the Republican's court when it comes to funding the government.

"Republicans control the House, they control the Senate and they control the presidency. The government stays open if they want it to stay open and shuts down if they want it to shut down," he said.

But speaking to reporters on Jan. 16 on the White House lawn, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders accused Democrats of milking the controversy around the remarks to avoid compromise on Trump's immigration priorities.

"I think they're using it as an excuse not to help this president get something accomplished, which I think is a sad day for our country."

On Twitter, Trump has been calling out his political opponents. "The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever," he tweeted on Jan. 16. "We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery."

Some senior lawmakers are trying to cool tensions in their public remarks.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)  and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the majority whip, have said they don't think there's going to be a shutdown.

"We should all be kicked out if that happens," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters.

On NBC's Meet the Press on Jan 14, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) sidestepped questions about whether he thought Democrats should decline to support a short-term funding bill if a deal to continue legal protections for immigrants under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy isn't reached.

"It should not come to that. We should stop shutting this government down," Bennet said. 

Republicans are putting together another short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through mid-February. The last such bill passed the House on Dec. 22 on a vote of 231-188, as lawmakers were looking to depart for the holiday recess. The vote was mostly on  party lines, with 16 Republicans voting against the stopgap funding measure and just 14 Democrats supporting it.

It's not clear whether another funding bill absent an immigration deal can draw even that modest level of Democratic support. But defense hawks on the right don’t want to get further into fiscal year 2018 without increasing military spending as called for in the National Defense Authorization Act. These and other forces could peel off votes needed to get even a short-term bill through the House.

"It is extremely difficult to convince our caucus members to vote for another short-term funding mechanism," Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus said on CNN on Jan 15.

Many large agencies are operating on shutdown guidance from 2015, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Education, Labor and Health and Human Services. The agency contingency plans provide information on who is required to work during a lapse in appropriations and who is subject to furlough.

The government has shut down 18 times since 1976, most recently a two-week closure in 2013. The longest shutdown lasted 21 days from late 1995 to early 1996 under President Bill Clinton. Congress has voted in each case to award feds back pay for time spent on furlough.

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) introduced a bill Dec. 20 to guarantee back pay for furloughed feds in the event of a lapse in appropriations.

"Preparing the retroactive pay legislation sends a signal to our federal workers that they won't be forgotten in the unfortunate event of a shutdown," Wittman said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.