Federal Relations

October 4, 2013

Shutdown: Day Four

After some tense moments yesterday with the shooting at the US Capitol, Congress is poised to return to blaming each other over the federal government shutdown that is now entering its fourth day. It appears that both the House and Senate will stay in session over the weekend. The Senate is hoping to keep the pressure on the House to deliver a clean CR without provisions affecting the health reform law. The House, meanwhile, is moving forward on 11 additional short-term spending bills to reopen select areas of government and put pressure on the Senate to negotiate.

Even with all of this legislative activity, there is no end in sight for the current shutdown.

Over the past couple of days, House Republicans have advanced several bills targeting high-profile areas of the government impacted by the shutdown, such as national parks, veterans’ benefits, and the National Institutes of Health.

Today the House is set to continue on that piecemeal approach by considering several more bills to fund the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, nuclear weapon and non-proliferation activities, the FDA, intelligence agencies, border security and customs enforcement, American Indian health and education programs, the National Weather Service, Impact Aid, Head Start, and FEMA.

Senate Democrats and the White House have rejected that piecemeal approach to reopening government and instead continue to demand that Republicans accept a clean CR to fund the entire government at sequester levels.

House Republicans are scheduled to meet today to discuss what they want to achieve in the merging fights over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. House Republicans are in agreement that the White House and Senate Democrats must negotiate with them on reopening the government and avoiding a potentially historic default. But with the deadline for raising the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit less than two weeks away, they also admit they are forging ahead without a clear endgame in mind.

Sources: Politico, CQ