Americans are less than 2 weeks away from a federal government shutdown, and Congress still can't agree on the best way to avoid it

Americans are less than 2 weeks away from a federal government shutdown, and Congress still can't agree on the best way to avoid it
  • A federal government shutdown could happen in 13 days.

  • Conservative lawmakers proposed a bill to fund the government through October 31.

  • But the Senate, and some House lawmakers, aren't onboard.

There's a government shutdown looming yet again and, in a bit of legislative déjà vu, lawmakers can't agree on how to avert it.

Congress needs to come to an agreement to fund the government by September 30, otherwise, it will once again shut down. The last government shutdown lasted for 35 days — the longest in US history — between December 22, 2018, and January 25, 2019. While a shutdown likely won't be as catastrophic as the debt-ceiling crisis legislators flirted with in the spring, the government running out of funding would still have a big impact: Goldman Sachs warned a shutdown could contribute to falling GDP growth.

On September 17, Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus and the Main Street Caucus announced they had reached an agreement on a short-term continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for 30 days. According to the bill text, the legislation would continue funding for the 12 appropriations bills until October 31, while including an "across-the-board" 7.8% cut to discretionary funding — and it includes a number of provisions aimed at strengthening the border, which has been a point of contention on both sides of the aisle.

The House Rules Committee is expected to mark up the resolution on September 18, and it's set to head for a full House vote on September 21. Still, the government is 13 days away from shutting down and it's unlikely the Senate will approve this resolution. Even some House Republicans have said they will not support it, meaning that with the GOP's slim majority in the House, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy can only afford to lose a handful of his party's votes on this funding bill.

"It's crystal clear a Gov't shutdown is coming," GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday. "I represent 66% of the Texas-Mexico border - a hollow Continuing Resolution built to win a messaging battle does nothing to keep America safe."

Meanwhile, the Biden administration wants more funding — not less — to help keep key programs afloat. In late August, the Office of Management and Budget released a document viewed by Insider that laid out where the administration thinks more money is needed. That included government benefits like SNAP and Social Security, both of which, per the Biden administration, would struggle to get benefits and customer service out in a timely manner without more funding.

The OMB did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on Republicans' proposed continuing resolution.

While the OMB has contingency plans for every federal agency to help them determine which areas of service should be prioritized, thousands of federal employees would be furloughed at the outset of the shutdown, constraining many government operations and putting programs Americans rely on at risk.

Another sticking point for some Republican holdouts is an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden — if the government shuts down, their ability to investigate the president would be put on hold. Even some GOP lawmakers in the Senate have previously said that while they might not agree with the impeachment inquiry, they think it might be the push that House members need to keep the government funded through the next month.

"It seems like it's maybe part of the bargain over there to keep some folks in line on maybe the budgetary stuff," GOP Sen. Mike Braun told Politico last week.

Even Biden has said he doesn't "know quite why" Republicans want to impeach him, saying in remarks at a campaign reception: "The best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government."

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