Hopes for successful passage of a CR were growing at the beginning of the week. But now a group of lawmakers opposed to the White House's COVID vaccine mandates is leading many Washington-watchers, including federal employee unions, to see a growing possibility of a federal government shutdown.
Congress and the White House narrowly averted a shutdown just two months ago—with President Biden signing a short-term spending bill just in time. But now, time’s up on that continuing resolution (CR)—and it’s Groundhog Day all over again, with yet another shuttering of government looming as of Friday, Dec. 3 at midnight.
What’s likely to happen? Depends who you ask, with the reporting changing hour-to-hour. As of Wednesday, Dec. 1, however, the outlook is not too great.
Reports—such as this one in the Washington Post—emphasized a new wrinkle working against effective congressional action to stop the shutdown. Several lawmakers in the House and Senate are holding out against another CR, unless they get a deal which would prohibit funding for the already-court hobbled COVID vaccine mandates. After some initial widely-reported optimism for avoiding shutdown, now additional reports, in USAToday and elsewhere, is signaling pessimism on passage largely due to the anti-mandate push on Capitol Hill.
Federal employee unions are hoping for a resolution to the growing legislative impasse—and passage of a CR. For example, the National Treasury Employees Union, which released a statement Wednesday pushing for passage.
“NTEU members have been contacting their members of Congress urging them to resolve any outstanding issues and pass the CR as soon as possible,” the union said. “The CR would give Congress more time to reach a longer-term spending agreement that will fund federal agencies for the remainder of the 2022 fiscal year.”
Another major union, the National Federation of Federal Employees, displayed front-and-center on its website an (undated but also unmistakable in its message) photo of members with a banner stating simply “Stop the Shutdown.”
The pending CR would extend government funding into February 2022.
On Thursday, many news reports such as this one indicated a deal in the House was closer—but the anti-mandate group could still scuttle passage.
This report has been updated.