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Government faces risk of complete shutdown in 9 DAYS

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The government is facing a complete shutdown in 9 days unless the House of Representatives can settle their differences and agree on a plan.

If you thought the drama was over once Mike Johnson was elected as House Speaker after weeks of deliberations and internal debate, then think again! 

Now Johnson and all of America are facing a deadline of November 18th to get their affairs in order.

If the House doesn’t come to a decision on critical matters by then, Johnson could be facing the same fate as his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

Find out what the Republicans plan to do to avert a government shutdown. 

There are only 9 days left until the government funding deadline of Nov. 18. Unless Congress passes legislation to fund government agencies and programs, there will be another government shutdown – a prospect that terrifies a lot of people, not just Americans.

If the government does shut-down, it could harm the country’s credit. Not long ago, Fitch downgraded the US credit rating by one notch on the back of a debt ceiling crisis.

But despite holding a closed-door meeting, House Republicans did not agree on a plan. During the meeting, Speaker Mike Johnson laid out various options but there was no consensus among the members.

If Congress doesn’t reach an agreement by November 18th then most federal agencies will no longer have authorization to spend money and conduct operations. Non-essential activities will begin shutting down, beginning with things like national parks and museums, government services and benefit programs, and 

federal employees will even be sent home without pay. Meanwhile, projects and contracts will be interrupted – causing more chaos as projects are set back and teams are left waiting. 

So it’s up to Congress and the President to agree on a new spending bill or continuing resolution to fund the government. As usual there are a few strategies on the table, but none that everyone agrees on.

The short-term continuing resolution or CR for short is one of the key options being considered by House Republicans to avoid a government shutdown. A CR would extend current funding levels for a brief period until a longer-term agreement could be reached.

This option is preferred by appropriators like Representative Tom Cole, who chairs the House Rules Committee. Cole argued at the Republican meeting that the party should pass a clean, short-term continuing resolution through mid-January.

Representative Cole believes this is the smarter strategy, saying “Trying to use a government shutdown for leverage never works.” He argues the House would have better leverage in April when automatic spending cuts could kick in under a long-term continuing resolution.

Passing a short-term continuing resolution would keep the government open with bipartisan support while allowing more time for broader negotiations. It is also seen as having the best chance for approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

However, some conservatives prefer another approach using incremental funding or a “laddered” continuing resolution.  

The “laddered” or incremental continuing resolution is another key option being weighed by House Republicans. This approach was proposed by Representative Andy Harris of Maryland.

Instead of funding everything at once until a single date, the laddered continuing resolution would fund different government agencies on staggered expiration dates, such as every 2 weeks.

Some conservatives like Representatives Brian Babin and Richard Stern see this as a strategy that could incentivize negotiations. Brian said it “almost forces the issue” to have multiple deadlines.

Richard Stern believes this would prevent Congress from facing one broad shutdown, and instead would have to address individual expirations, like for the Department of Transportation on one date and Defense on another.

But critics of the policy argue this could lead to more chaos. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she doesn’t think it’s a good idea and would be “confusing and difficult to manage” across separate chambers.

This is because the staggered deadlines could create more opportunities for negotiations to break down along the way. For this reason Representative Cole and others still prefer using the single April deadline.

Another strategy is the “clean” continuing resolution, which doesn’t attach any unrelated policies. This is the type of resolution passed in November and is now the preferred option for handling the funding deadline according to Senate leaders and Democrats.

The motivation behind this strategy is to pass the simplest stopgap bill possible to ensure continued government operations. By avoiding extra demands that could sink negotiations, supporters see the clean CR as having the best odds for swift Senate approval.

You might recall that this issue was also what did former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in. 

Once it became clear that there was no path forward for a GOP-only stopgap plan, McCarthy shifted strategies and announced the clean continuing resolution. This came as a blow to hardline conservatives who were not able to include the spending cuts or policy provisions they wanted in the clean CR. It’s not clear yet if a similar issue will arise for Speaker Mike Johnson. 

A government shutdown would mark a critical test for Speaker Johnson early in his new position as the House Speaker. While former Speaker McCarthy was removed from his position after brokering a deal with Democrats to fund the government temporarily, some hardline Republicans have indicated a willingness to give Johnson more leeway. Still his position remains precarious with any member able to call for a leadership vote, however failing to reach a deal to avoid a shutdown could undermine Johnson.

This new headache comes just after the three week Speaker election debacle came to a close. Now, the need to unite on a resolution poses new difficulties for House Republicans. 

But outside of Congress, the impacts are more high-stakes. For civilians, past near-shutdowns showed approximately 2 million federal employees could be impacted. Specifically, the IRS warned two-thirds of its workforce may have to be furloughed without pay. This would affect the lives and paychecks of millions of families and individuals relying on government jobs. 

But for now, Speaker Johnson is keeping his cards close to his chest, simply saying “Trust us” while he House Republicans formulate a plan.

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