U.S. Government Shutdown 2018
Congress has 2 weeks to fund the government. They have 3 working days.
Posted on 31st January 2018:
Members say they need at least a month to write a spending bill, Congress is expected to pass yet another short-term spending agreement on February 8 — but they still have a lot of difficult decisions to make. There is still uncertainty around whether that agreement will come with a deal on budget caps — the upper spending limit for military and domestic programs — which Democrats and Republicans have to agree on. And there’s already some frustration among Democratic and Republican ranks about having to vote for another short-term spending bill.
The shutdown also brought together a larger group of bipartisan negotiators — roughly 30 senators who’ve named themselves the “Common Sense Coalition,” who are intent on moving immigration talks forward. Meanwhile, a team of Democratic and Republican leadership deputies that have been dubbed the “No. 2s,” consisting of Durbin again, as well as Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), have also been negotiating.
On top of immigration, Congress still has to strike a permanent spending deal for 2018.
So far, the parties still haven’t agreed on new budget caps. Durbin told reporters that Democrats and Republicans were far apart on spending caps negotiations. Without budget caps, any massive spending bill risks triggering a sequester — across-the-board cuts to domestic and military spending.
Republicans need Democratic votes to raise the budget caps on military spending and domestic programs.
It all goes back to 2011 when an Obama-era impasse over the debt ceiling brought the American economy to near calamity. The ultimate result was the 2013 sequester, which set into law across-the-board budget cuts and established caps that would amount to $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
Since the sequester, there have been two bipartisan deals to raise the caps by billions of dollars. The first in 2013 was forged between Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray; a second was agreed on in 2015. There’s no question that Trump wants Congress to do that again.
Last year, Trump’s budget called for $603 billion in defense funding, and both the Senate and House separately proposed even higher figures.
Congress has repeatedly voted to raise the budget caps and give sequester relief, but those adjustments, which extended through fiscal year 2017, have now expired. In 2018, the sequester budget caps max out defense spending at $549 billion and non-defense discretionary funding at $516 billion, far less than what both Republicans and Democrats would like to spend.
Democrats have established a guiding principle in spending cap negotiations: If Republicans want more funding for defense, then Democrats want a one-for-one increase in non-defense funding. This time, however, that agreement hit a snag.
Reaching a budget cap deal is a high priority for defense hawks in Congress, who say short-term spending deals hobble the military — preventing them from being able to adequately plan resources. Republicans in the House are trying to move forward a defense spending bill without addressing domestic spending, which is a “nonstarter” for most Democrats.
Because appropriators need these topline numbers to begin putting together a trillion-dollar spending bill that would fund the government through next September, the lack of compromise has put more permanent spending bills on hold.
– According to Vox.
Stopgap Bill to End Government Shutdown Passes Congress
Posted on 22nd January 2018:
The Senate voted 81-18 on Monday to end the three-day-old government shutdown, with Democrats joining Republicans to fund the government through February 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address the fate of young, undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.
“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “We have a lot to do.”
After a weekend of partisan finger-pointing — in which Democrats branded the shutdown the “Trump Shutdown,” after President Trump, and Republicans branded it the “Schumer shutdown” — Monday’s vote offered Republicans and Democrats a way out of an ugly impasse that threatened to cause political harm to both parties.
Mr. Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor, announced that he and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, had “come to an arrangement” to adopt the three-week spending measure while continuing to negotiate a “global agreement” that would include the fate of the dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
Monday’s vote came after a frantic weekend of work by a bipartisan group of more than 20 senators, who on Sunday night were discussing a plan in which the government would stay open through early February, coupled with a promise from Mr. McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect the Dreamers from deportation.
Mr. McConnell pledged Monday morning that he would create a “level playing field” on immigration next month if the issue had not been resolved by then. But his promise was not enough for many Democrats, and on Monday morning, moderate Senate Democrats were still pressing for more in exchange for their votes to end the shutdown.
– According to The New York Times.
U.S. government shutdown begins as spending bill fails in Senate
Posted on 20th January 2018:
The U.S. government shut down at midnight on Friday, 19th January, 2018, after Democrats and Republicans, locked in a bitter dispute over immigration and border security, failed to agree on a last-minute deal to fund its operations.
Here’s an informative video by CNBC describing ‘What Happens When the U.S. Government Shuts Down’.
In a late-night session, senators blocked a bill to extend government funding through Feb. 16. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate but only 50 supported it.
Most Democrats opposed the bill because their efforts to include protections for hundreds of thousands of mostly young immigrants, known as Dreamers, were rejected by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders.
Huddled negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer were unsuccessful, and the U.S. government technically ran out of money at midnight. While the two men said they remained committed to reaching a deal, the shutdown formally began on Saturday, the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
His inability to cut a deal despite enjoying a Republican majority in both houses of Congress highlighted the deep political divide in Washington.
Until a funding deal is worked out, scores of federal agencies across the country will be unable to operate, and hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” federal workers will be put on temporary unpaid leave.
Trump immediately moved to blame Democrats. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” the White House said in a statement. It also said it would not discuss immigration until the government was up and running again. “We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.”
In return, Schumer pointed the finger directly at Trump. “It’s almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown and now we’ll have one and the blame should crash entirely on President Trump’s shoulders,” he said.
NEGOTIATE OR FIGHT?
Democratic and Republican leaders agreed to reopen negotiations on Saturday and said they were committed to getting a quick agreement.
But both sides may now be even less willing to make concessions because a political defeat on the issue could be costly, especially with the control of Congress up for grabs at midterm elections later this year.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a stopgap funding measure on Thursday. But Republicans then needed the support of at least 10 Democrats to pass the bill in the Senate. While five Democrats ended up voting for the measure, five Republicans voted against it.
Democratic leaders wanted the measure to include protections from deportation for about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Despite bipartisan negotiations, Republican leaders refused to include those protections, and neither side was willing to back down. Trump, who had made strict measures on immigration a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, last week rejected a bipartisan proposal.
He said he wanted to include any deal for Dreamers in a bigger legislative package that also boosted funding for a wall and tighter security measures along the U.S. border with Mexico. Schumer met with Trump on Friday afternoon and later said he had reluctantly agreed to include the border wall in the negotiations but that it still was not enough to persuade Trump to find a compromise.
McConnell said he would seek over the weekend a new funding bill that covered the federal government through to Feb. 8.
A Senate Democratic source said that was still too far out. Democrats had argued for an extension of just four or five days to force both sides into serious negotiations on the immigration issue. Despite the formal shutdown, “essential” employees who deal with public safety and national security will keep working.
That includes more than 1.3 million people on active duty in the military who will be required to work but will not be paid until funding is renewed or handled with separate legislation. Although past government shutdowns have done little lasting damage to the U.S. economy, they can rattle financial markets and undermine the United States’ reputation abroad.
This impasse follows a months-long struggle in Congress to agree on government funding levels and protections for Dreamers, most of whom are originally from Mexico or Central America. They were given temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started by former President Barack Obama.
In September, Trump announced he was ending the program and gave Congress until March 5 to come up with new legislation. Efforts to do that have so far failed so Democrats tried to get it done by linking a deal to the funding of the federal government.
Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jim Oliphant; Writing by Kieran Murray; Editing by Leslie Adler and Michael Perry.
It is yet to be seen how this affects the US Department of Transport. With the latest ELD Mandate for the Trucking Industry By FMCSA, it is interesting to see how the latest US Government Shutdown would affect the Transport industry. Regulatory bodies would be working with only ‘essential’ workforce, while others would be put on an unpaid leave. This would undoubtedly create anxiety and unease in the markets. Also, with the point of the debate centered around ‘Dreamers’ and ‘Immigration’, the driver shortage is bound to increase, pushing freight costs and carrier availability.