Federal Relations

Shutdown: Day Seven

Today marks the seventh day of the government shutdown, with no end in sight as both sides show no signs of compromising. It is becoming increasingly clear that the end of the government shutdown will be tied to a broader deal on raising the debt ceiling – likely to be the focus of debate in Congress this week. The starting point for negotiations seems to be that Democrats will oppose either a delay or defunding of the health care law, and many liberals say they’ll also block cuts Republicans want to make to Social Security and Medicare. The GOP will oppose any tax increases and may insist that long-term spending cuts should be the price for any debt limit hike.

Meanwhile, the House will continue to bring up short-term “mini-CRs” to reopen portions of government even though the Senate has refused to consider such an approach. Today the House is set to consider a bill to restart operations at the Food and Drug Administration.

Also in the House, Democrats are advancing discharge petition to bring up a GOP bill that automatically funds the government through November 15th. Democrats believe there are enough votes to support the plan if they could just bring it to the floor for a vote. So far Speaker Boehner has opposed bringing a clean CR bill to the floor for consideration.

And finally, the shutdown will end for most Defense Department civilian employees as they have been called back to work today. This comes after a legal ruling by the Justice and Defense departments that found the administration could eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of servicemembers.