With Congress now in its long August recess after failing to pass a single spending bill for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, speculation has understandably grown over the possibility of a government shutdown this fall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has offered fresh and welcome assurances that lawmakers would pass legislation to keep the government open.
“I can’t tell you what will finally end up in or out of any government funding resolution,” McConnell said recently. “I can tell you without fear of contradiction there will be no government shutdown.”
Congress is supposed to pass 12 appropriations bills to fund the government each year. With time running so short, lawmakers are planning to rely once again on a “continuing resolution,” which allows spending to generally continue at current levels for a certain period of time.
The proposed nuclear deal with Iran, urgently needed transportation legislation and other issues could further squeeze the congressional schedule next month. And Congress must soon raise the federal debt limit.
Some Republicans are pushing for a budget showdown next month over abortion or perhaps other issues. McConnell notes, however, that past shutdowns have had a familiar ending: “The focus is on the fact that the government is shut down, not on what the underlying issue that is being protested is.”
What Is a Continuing Resolution? (Concord)