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Congress Races to Avoid Partial Government Shutdown

by Countable | 1.17.18

Lawmakers have until 11:59:59pm ET on Friday night to pass legislation that keeps the government funded beyond that deadline or a partial government shutdown will occur. On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee met to prep a bill to do that and more for debate in Congress this week.

The bill would keep the government open through February 16 and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. It would also delay the implementation of Obamacare’s tax on medical devices, health insurers, and the so-called "Cadillac tax" that applies to high-cost employer provided plans.

The four weeks of funding would in theory buy time for lawmakers to reach a bipartisan deal on government funding levels for the next two years. Those talks have has been held up by the ongoing negotiations over a solution for the so-called Dreamers prior to the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in early March, which Democrats have deemed necessary for their support of a budget deal.

Congressional leaders face a challenge in finding the votes to pass the stopgap measure. House conservatives have argued that Congress should provide the rest of fiscal year 2018’s defense spending now. Democrats have threatened to withhold their support as a DACA deal, let alone a broader immigration agreement, has eluded Congress thus far. And some lawmakers, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are just tired of voting on short-term funding bills.

If all that sounds familiar, that’s because those issues were the sticking points when Congress approved its last short-term funding bill on December 21. Then, House Republicans managed to pass the funding bill on a 231-188 vote without the initial support of Democrats, 14 of whom voted in favor once it was clear the legislation would pass. The Senate passed the bill on a 66-32 vote, with 17 Democrats voting in favor and two Republicans opposed.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Fox News that Republicans appear to have the votes they need to pass the stopgap funding bill:

The House is expected to bring the bill to the floor for a vote Thursday in order to give the Senate time to vote prior to Friday night’s deadline.

What happens in a government shutdown?

First of all, it would be a partial government shutdown, so it’s not as if the entire federal government would be shuttered. The military and federal law enforcement agencies would continue to do their job, and entitlement payments to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries would still go out as usual.

Federal workers who are considered non-essential would be furloughed, meaning that they can’t work, although they have in the past received back pay following shutdowns. During the 2013 shutdown more than 818,000 federal workers were furloughed, which caused national parks to be closed and agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency to operate with only a small number of employees. Whether workers will be furloughed also depends on the status of an agency’s budget, as the State Dept. and Securities and Exchange Commission remained at full staff longer than other agencies during the last shutdown because of the funding they had leftover.

Tell your reps whether you think Congress should pass the short-term funding bill that reauthorizes CHIP for six years using the Take Action button!

— Eric Revell

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(Photo Credit: Willard / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(145)
  • Sky
    01/18/2018
    ···

    As your constituent I expect a clean DACA bill, CHP funding and no other changes to immigration or Obamacare. Stop ruining the country by taking away protections for our most vulnerable populations.

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  • Wallace
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Is tolerance dead? What about American values? Let’s have a clean DACA bill and fund CHIP. Why is this so damn hard?

    Like (61)
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  • Aim
    01/18/2018
    ···

    STOP CALLING SOCIAL SECURITY AN ENTITLEMENT!!!!

    Like (53)
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  • Rick
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Why are these politicians still getting paychecks if they can't get a budget in place? In any other job, if you don't get your work done you don't get paid. Why are they shutting down parts of the government and not suspending their own pay?

    Like (47)
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  • Walonda
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Shut it down! We are tired of the government playing games with other people’s lives. Plan on being fired in 2018!

    Like (35)
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  • wnyguy
    01/18/2018
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    Shut it down!

    Like (26)
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  • Diane
    01/18/2018
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    No shutdown is acceptable. Why does congress continue to tie every policy issue together? I would support bills which were independent and if that were government, I believe citizens would have less polarized views overall.

    Like (20)
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  • Wallace
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Keep the government open! Fund CHIP and let’s have a clean DACA bill.

    Like (20)
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  • denali
    01/18/2018
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    The R’s Control all 3 branches of Govt and they think the D’s should be blamed. C’mon man, it’s not about placing blame it’s about doing their damned jobs. The freedom caucus is unreasonable and aren’t there to govern. It’s all pathetic.

    Like (15)
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  • Gerald
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Shut it down. The Republicans think that the federal government should disappear, and after watching this clown show govern, they have proven their point. I agree. We can reopen it after the 2018 elections.

    Like (14)
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  • Robert
    01/18/2018
    ···

    Maybe if they stop the political gamesmanship and work together to accomplish something productive for the American people instead of always worrying about where the money‘s coming from or who gave them what money and what they need to do for it, something could be achieved.

    Like (12)
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  • Marylynn
    01/18/2018
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    Why is it that these lawmakers can't get their jobs done? They're toying with the lives of so many and they don't seem to care. They're just buying time, so they can continue to nothing for their constituents, yet have plenty of time to solicit for campaign contributions, while working towards their next election. I hope you're resumes are in order, some of you will be looking for new employment by the end of the year.

    Like (11)
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  • Guy
    01/18/2018
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    Shut it down.

    Like (10)
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  • Marcus
    01/18/2018
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    Considering your abhorrent behavior, let the government shut down! You had a bipartisan bill ready to go, but because Trump suddenly changed his mind and you didn’t hold him accountable, you deserve the failure you get. Stand up to him! Take control of your party back!

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  • Marc
    01/18/2018
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    Congress has nothing to do with this, it’s trump

    Like (9)
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  • Shai
    01/18/2018
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    Funding our Government has become nothing more than a political football. Republicans are the most egregious offenders but Democrats are not entirely blameless. If I didn’t ‘fund’ my financial obligations I know where I’d eventually end up. But what jail is big enough for the guilty here and who has the authority to put them in it? Seems nothing and no one.

    Like (8)
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  • Mike
    01/18/2018
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    It’s obvious that a “unified republican government” as espoused by Paul Ryan is incapable of governing. November 2018 can’t come fast enough to get rid of them!

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  • RickEberhardt
    01/18/2018
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    DACA only If chain migration and visa lottery are ended. We need to start reforming our immigration policies and this would be a start. We also need to tighten up our borders through enforcement and disincentive to want to enter illegally. The democrats need to stop holding this country hostage because they want to give away our country to illegal immigrants. Americans need to be taken care of too.

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  • Alan
    01/18/2018
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    illegal-immigrant-charged-in-killings-two-cops-wishes-had-killed-more-mother........ these are the people the Democrats want to protect. Illegals which are criminals. Democrats don’t want to protect Americans over illegals. So sad if you are a democrat.

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  • Jon
    01/18/2018
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    Let the government shut down. Less taxpayer money wasted.

    Like (7)
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