Potential Government Shutdown Looms

A potential government shutdown looms ahead of tonight’s deadline for Congress to pass a short-term spending bill. 

Congress must vote on a bipartisan resolution for funding through early December before the funding expires midnight tonight. Every autumn, Congress has to pass legislation to fund the government for the fiscal year. If Congress cannot pass the spending bill, then a partial shutdown will occur. 

Earlier this week, Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill that would have acted as the stopgate and prevented the partial shutdown. The bill would have funded the government into December of this year, and suspended the debt ceiling into December of next year.

Government funding and the debt ceiling are separate issues. While raising the debt ceiling would not authorize spending, it would allow the US to borrow to cover existing obligations, something that Republican lawmakers are opposed to at this moment, despite having previously supported debt ceiling suspensions. 

Since the blocking of that legislation, the Senate has reached an agreement on a bill. Once passing the Senate today, it will need to pass in the House as well. The current proposed legislation would fund the government through December 3. 

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