Congress Members Working On Averting Another Government Shutdown

Sen. Van Hollen says another shutdown would negatively impact the country.


Frederick, Md (KM) Members of Congress are working on ways to prevent another federal government shutdown. The current funding authorization runs out at midnight on Thursday, February 8th.

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) says he and his colleagues have been working to craft a budget bill to prevent that from happening. “We’re working to get a budget agreement,” he says. “Meaning, we agree on the top lines of spending in the areas of defense and the areas of non-defense. And non-defense includes the National Institutes of Health, education funding, transportation funding. We also need to make sure we fund the community health centers. We provide resources to fight the opioid epidemic and a number of key issues.”

Van Hollen says progress is being made. “I think we’re close. But the clock is clearly ticking, and we’d like to get a budget agreement so we don’t have another continuing resolution,” he says.

A continuing resolution, he says, is not a good thing. “What they are, really, is putting the US government budget on auto pilot. The fiscal year for the government began October 1st {2017},” says Van Hollen. “It would be like a company trying to operate under its previous year’s budget, even though they’ve experienced changes in priorities, changes in costs.”

On Monday  evening,  House Republican leaders met behind closed doors to brief GOP lawmakers on a strategy to pass another stopgap funding that would last through March 23rd,  the Associated Press reports. It would buy time to implement a follow-up budget pact and maybe even enact immigration legislation. The last government shutdown  in January was over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,  or DACA.

If the federal government shuts down again, Van Hollen says it would negatively affect the nation. “Everything from closing national parks to the Centers for Disease Control not being able to monitor diseases during the flu season to cut backs in homeland security. So there are all kinds of negative consequences,” he says.

Republicans are pushing for dramatic increases in defense spending. Democrats say they’ll go along with that if there’s a similar boost in domestic spending.

The last government shutdown in January only lasted three days.


By Kevin McManus