Shutdown showdown shifts back to the Senate
- By Troy K. Schneider, Adam Mazmanian
- Dec 20, 2018
A partial government shutdown seems likely after the House of Representatives passed a stopgap funding bill that includes $5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Senate had previously passed a bill that extended funding for a handful of agencies that were not funded by appropriations bills. That continuing resolution did not include funding for the wall, which Democrats do not support.
If, as expected, the Senate does not support the House bill on Friday, then either the House and President Donald Trump have to cave at the eleventh hour, or else there will be a partial government shutdown at midnight.
The sudden lurch by the House to pass wall funding came about after leaders from both chambers had agreed in principle to punt the government funding decisions into next year.
The House voted 217-185 to support the wall funding, with eight Republicans voting no.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would not sign a short-term spending bill that lacks significant new border-security funding.
At midnight on Dec. 21, funding is set to expire for DHS as well as the Departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture as well as the General Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget, NASA and others.
In total, about 380,000 federal employees would be furloughed, while approximately 400,000 – including more than 210,000 at DHS – would be deemed essential and have to report to work without their paychecks.
In remarks to a reporter Dec. 20, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a founder of the right-wing Freedom Caucus that staunchly urged Trump to dig in on the wall said that that lapses in appropriations and unpaid furloughs are part of federal employment.
"It's actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position And it’s not lost on me in terms of, you know, the potential hardship. At the same time, they know they would be required to work and even in preparation for a potential shutdown those groups within the agencies have been instructed to show up," Meadows said.
This story was updated Dec. 20 after the House vote.
Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.
Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.