President Donald Trump has issued a warning to lawmakers that he would not sign another spending bill like the one he signed in March, indicating to them that they need to get things in order before the next budget gets to his desk.
Following a short shutdown at the beginning of the year, lawmakers in both parties now agree that government day-to-day operations need to be budgeted through weeks of open debate and amendments that empower rank-and-file lawmakers, rather than concentrating power in the hands of a few leaders meeting in secret, ABC News writes.
However, the best case scenario is that only a few of the 12 annual spending bills will make it into law by October 1, while the other ones will likely get bundled together, yet again, into a single, massive measure.
On the other end of the spectrum, a second government shutdown in a year could happen, just a month before the November election, as lawmakers fight for seats in both chambers. The president is pushing for more money for his long-promised border wall with Mexico, maintaining that it is necessary.
“We need the wall. We’re going to have it all. And again, that wall has started. We got $1.6 billion. We come up again (in) September,” President Trump said in a campaign-style event in Michigan last month. “If we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice. We’ll close down the country because we need border security.”
The funding for daily operations of government agencies is now at stake, as Trump said in March that he would not sign another measure that reverses spending cuts affecting the work of these agencies.
This is a particularly serious issue in the GOP-controlled House, where Democrats are complaining that Republicans have shortchanged domestic agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Republicans in the House also refuse to vote for some bills because they think they spend too much money. Democrats also won’t vote for the spending bills because they believe Republicans are pushing for unrelated policy add-ons, whose removal is a precondition for Democratic votes.
However, this usually doesn’t happen until end-stage talks. At the same time, House GOP leaders are distracted by disputes over immigration, and they haven’t made the appropriations bills a priority.