Shutdown countdown continues, as WH offers no guarantee on lawmakers’ deals

To the relief of many Washington-watchers—and many, but clearly not all, federal employees—both House and Senate had announced deals that could command enough votes to prevent another shutdown.

The deals in play are clearly delicate and fraught with danger. The House passed a possible funding compromise Feb. 6. Senate leaders Feb. 7 announced they too had one in the offing, a mere day away from the federal government running out of money.

The House bill provides funding through a continuing resolution that would run through Mar. 23. This has been lawmakers’ habit since before Christmas—they’ve punted several times on hammering out the hard stuff, including failing to reach a deal on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that Democrats are insisting on—or funding for the border wall demanded by the president and his GOP allies on the Hill.

The Senate proposal, by contrast, is more sweeping. It would effectively provide two years of funding by raising spending caps to new levels that should hold for a longer term. To get it to actually pass, though, the minority party is insisting on some sort of compromise on DACA—something the president and some of the leadership in his party continued to seem unclear on.

The unpredictability of the president, according to his critics, is holding up the train toward a more stable funding future. His strongest defenders—and some in the minority who are poised to accept a deeper compromise—are pressing to go along with what he might need on the wall.

According to Senate leaders in news reports, the Senate deal would provide many of the other items on one or the other side of the aisle—including support to help control the opioid crisis, relief money for natural disasters, military costs, and others.

“The bipartisan budget deal announced by Senate leadership ensures the government stays open for business and keeps federal employees working on behalf of the American people,” J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a late-breaking statement Wednesday afternoon.

“The budget would provide long-overdue increases for both our military and non-defense agencies. Most federal agencies have been limping by on borrowed time for far too long due to harmful sequestration cuts. This budget will give agencies much-needed resources to invest in the programs and services that the public expects and deserves.”

The National Treasury Employees Union’s president, Tony Reardon, also made a clarion call for a quick end to the impasse, as published on

Until the House and Senate have come to a joint compromise, and have the White House aboard with a signature waiting, the threat of shutdown continues.

Reader comments

Mon, Feb 12, 2018 eer


Mon, Feb 12, 2018

Take the congress and senate and put them in an open air tent with the inmates in Arizona or New Mexico to resolve and produce a budget! The membership verges on being criminals anyway!

Thu, Feb 8, 2018 Ken Edgar, Wi

DACA problem is self made by Trump. Obama set it up because congress could not find a solution. Trump made DACA an issue to make an artificial bargaining chip. immigration should not be in budget bill.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
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