"Time's Up" - Government Shutdown Odds Spike To 75%

Tyler Durden's picture

Two weeks ago, when no one was talking about the possibility of a government shutdown, we warned it was coming. Today, as Politico reports, with very little time left to reach a deal, budget experts project a 75% chance of a shutdown.

While a shutdown is anything but certain, of course. But it’s hard to see how the situation could change dramatically in the very short time left before the start of the fiscal year. It’s far more likely the odds will get worse rather than better. Politico's Stan Collender's most recent projection is that there is now a 75 percent chance of a shutdown. As he explains,

As an almost 40-year veteran of the federal budget wars and one of the few people who has served on the staffs of both the House and Senate budget committees, I’ve reached this lofty number by reading the budget tea leaves that others seem almost desperate to discount, disregard or ignore.


First and foremost, there is not enough time to reach a deal. Not only have none of the fiscal 2016 appropriations yet been signed into law, none have even passed both the House and Senate. With less than two calendar weeks (and far fewer days of potential legislative work) to go, the only way to keep the government from shutting down will be for Congress and the president to agree on a continuing resolution to fund the government for a short time while a larger deal is negotiated.


Such a short-term CR will be very difficult for any number of reasons, but the controversy over Planned Parenthood is perhaps the biggest one. The dispute over continued funding for the organization has added a hyperemotional element to what already is a hyperpartisan and dysfunctional budget process. Some Republicans have vowed never to vote for any legislation — including a CR — that maintains this funding, while the White House has promised to veto any bill that ends it. With Congress not likely to have the votes to override a veto, this issue alone could easily bring government operations to a halt on Oct. 1.


In addition, the dispute between the parties over military and domestic funding has so far been impossible to negotiate. Democrats want both military and domestic spending increased while Republicans have proposed an increase for the military but a reduction in domestic programs.

These already difficult issues are being made much worse by the often-extreme differences between House and Senate Republicans and the inability of the GOP leaders in both houses to control their members.

That puts Senate and House Republicans directly at odds. McConnell likely can’t get the Senate to adopt a CR that stops funding for Planned Parenthood while Boehner can’t get the House to adopt one that allows it to continue.


That means the speaker and majority leader might have to do what Boehner has done in past budget fights: work with Democrats to get the votes needed to move ahead. But House and Senate Democrats already have indicated that their votes won’t come cheap. Their demands could include all of the budget items Republicans don’t want, such as more funding for domestic as well as military programs, continued funding for Planned Parenthood and funding for the implementation of the agreement with Iran. They might also want something more, such as an agreement to begin the budget negotiations the White House has been requesting.


This total capitulation to Democratic demands will be very hard for House and Senate Republicans to stomach. It could cost Boehner his job as speaker and threaten McConnell’s authority as majority leader. It also is not at all clear that House Republicans or the four GOP senators running for president view a government shutdown as an event to be feared politically or that they are worried about being blamed should one occur. For some — including many of the same representatives who are threatening Boehner’s tenure as speaker — a shutdown would be the legislative equivalent of a reelection campaign event that energizes the Republican base and convinces constituents someone is fighting for them in Washington.

These House members point with glee to the results in the first election following the last shutdown in 2013. Not only did the GOP win nine seats and wrest control of the Senate, it won 16 more seats and increased its majority in the House. Why should anyone think, they ask, that the situation will be any different this time around?

*  *  *

As we concluded previously, there is more than one way that Congress could still avoid a shutdown at the end of the month. The most obvious option would be for House Republican leaders to bring “clean” spending legislation to a vote, with the expectation that it would pass with substantial Democratic support. To satisfy conservatives, the House could also vote on separate legislation to enact the specific policy changes some lawmakers are demanding, potentially via the reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes in the Senate and therefore would allow congressional Republicans to send such a bill to the President’s desk (it would nevertheless be vetoed, but the effort might be enough to satisfy House conservatives). A second option would be to split off the controversial issues from the funding for other agencies, limiting the scope of any potential shutdown, similar to the strategy used in late 2014 to extend spending authority in the face of Republican opposition to the President’s executive action on immigration. However, it seems unlikely that congressional Democrats would support such a move this time around.

So will a shutdown occur? With a few weeks to go until the deadline, the outlook is very murky but our best guess is that Congress will narrowly avoid it. While there are several considerations that make a shutdown possible, as noted above, support for the current effort is still fairly limited. Prior to the 2013 shutdown, for example, 80 House Republicans signed on to the effort to oppose spending legislation unless it blocked funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). By contrast, only around 30 have signed on to the current effort, though that number may rise.


More importantly, while the probability of a shutdown of some kind seems to us to be approaching 50%, we think the probability of a shutdown that has a significant effect on the financial markets or real economy is much lower, for two reasons.


First, unlike the 2013 shutdown, which coincided with the deadline to raise the debt limit, the next deadline to raise the debt limit is unlikely to be reached until at least mid-November. As shown in Exhibit 1, shutdowns that overlapped with debt limit deadlines—the 1990 and 2013 shutdowns—have tended to result in a stronger reaction in financial markets than other shutdowns where the debt limit deadline was not about to be reached.


Exhibit 1: Shutdowns create volatility mainly when they overlap with a debt limit deadline

Source: Bloomberg, Congressional Research Service, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research


Second, a potential shutdown would probably be very short. In 2013, the shutdown ended up lasting longer than initially expected, in large part because the only natural deadline was the debt limit deadline, which was 2.5 weeks after funding lapsed. While one might argue that the lack of any deadline could lead to an even longer potential shutdown this year, it is more likely in our view that it would simply result in a decision to end the shutdown soon after it began, as has been the case with nearly every other government shutdown. In the 12 instances since 1980 that the federal government has shut down due to a funding lapse, the shutdown has lasted more than a week only twice. In 2013, we estimated that each week that all agencies were shut down would reduce real GDP growth in the quarter by around 0.2pp, though most of this effect would be reversed in the following quarter (after the first week, most civilian defense employees returned to work, reducing the economic effect of the final two weeks of what turned out to be a three-week shutdown).

It is too early to predict with any certainty whether a shutdown will occur, let alone how long it might last, but as the situation stands today, it seems likely to us that if a shutdown does occur it would have a smaller effect than the one in 2013.

*  *  *

SocGen is just as downbeat on the chances of avoiding a shutdown...

With the beginning of a new fiscal year less than two weeks away and no funding authorization in place, there is a growing chance of a Federal government shutdown. Congress will also have to increase or suspend the debt ceiling within the next 1.5 month as the Treasury is projected to exhaust so-called ‘extraordinary measures' at some point in October or November.




No matter how immaterial in terms of their economic impacts, government shutdowns create uncertainty and thus influence Fed decisions. We already view the odds of an October liftoff as low and a government shutdown could lower them further. Although funding issues should be resolved by the December FOMC meeting, there is a small chance that the fiscal standoff extends into the end of the year (i.e. due to a temporary continuing resolution), creating another deterrent for the Fed.

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Stackers's picture

With less than two calendar weeks (and far fewer days of potential legislative work) to go, the only way to keep the government from shutting down will be for Congress and the president to agree on a continuing resolution to fund the government for a short time while a larger deal is negotiated.


and this will happen at midnight the day before it runs out.



Hype Alert's picture

This should be bullish.  Somehow...

MANvsMACHINE's picture

This is where a bunch of government employees stay home for two weeks without pay only to come back after two weeks and paid retroactively for the two weeks missed.

Government workers can plan for their fully paid vacation time now.

Sudden Debt's picture

The US government stopped working since 2000.

I don't know what the fuzz is.

COSMOS's picture

They will keep kicking the can down the road UNTIL they can't !!!

And WOE that day!!!

knukles's picture

This is the best idea since sliced bread.
Who'd'a thunk.  Shut down the government.  Gosh. 
Time for Nobel Peace Prizes!

PS  For those not in the know, when the Feds are shut down, most all of it still works.  Don't fucking kid yourselves.  They just close off scenic roads so you can't see Mt Rushmore, go to Yellowstone, no Parades or White House Tours.  Y'all think the NSA shuts down they Utah data center?

Another Exercise in Kabuki Theater

Oh and PSS  Guess what'll happen with Border Control.  Lookatem all comin' in like rats, Ma!  They ain't got money a stop 'em!  Damn Conservatives!

Pool Shark's picture



Is a Government Shutdown a 'Good' Thing?


You bet!



Shad_ow's picture

Yes, shut it down.  We don't need 80% of it anyway.

Keep it shut down.

schnydz's picture


made much worse by the often-extreme differences between House and Senate Republicans and the inability of the GOP leaders in both houses to control their members.

This is how it should be. 

Bemused Observer's picture

Well, if payroll employees were to take that time off as well, it might become clear just WHO is paying that retro.

A nationwide work strike. The French do it. It DOES get their attention. The money-stream from payroll deductions dries up overnight, and by a huge amount.

macholatte's picture



The government should be “shut down” for all the right reasons but it won’t be for all the wrong reasons.



Hype Alert's picture

Team D will fight it tooth and nail, but come back later taking credit for the cost savings.

Sanity Bear's picture

Bullish for paid vacations for fedgov employees

markpower49's picture

Anyone with any decency WANTS the fedgov the shut down....forever. It is just a gang of criminal parasites.

markpower49's picture

Anyone with any decency WANTS the fedgov to shut down....forever. It is just a gang of criminal parasites.

Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Maybe Maxine Waters can give us her valued opinion?

RawPawg's picture

nails,coffins,collaspes....there's a theme here.

Mini-Me's picture

Please shutdown, you a-holes!

ShorTed's picture

Because dying is too much to ask for.

JoeySandwiches's picture

This is either another fake drama for the goyim or it's a staged event so they can blame the collapse on the government instead of the banks.

Anyone wanna take bets?

Chupacabra-322's picture

Yep! It's all Scripted False Narratives, PsyOp & Propaganda the Sheeple will eat up, get brained washed / Mind Controlled & don't even know it's being done to them.

The Art of PsyOp is exactly just that, an Art.

Implied Violins's picture

Actually, it's now part of the law of the land:


Veriton's link at the top is interesting, too.

nopalito's picture

A new distraction is needed now that the shemitah nonsense has passed.

Tom Servo's picture

It ends on the 23rd of Sept, in the evening... so, buckle up!!!!!

(i don't think shit is going to happen...)



nopalito's picture

The 23rd has come and gone. As expected, nothing happened.

Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Once again, who cares? Bunch of psychopaths getting nervous because they are once again on the brink of revealing just how useless and evil they really are.

Why no articles about the british PM trying to get oral from a dead pig? Seems like that would be right up ZH's alley...

max2205's picture

And govt workers will get paid for no work....perfect 

Osmium's picture

So pretty much a normal workday then?

Implied Violins's picture

I represent that. (As I type from my gov job)

khnum's picture

like sands through the hourglass...haven't I seen this show before?

Normalcy Bias's picture

Oh NO! They'll close some parks, essential services will continue, and all the benefit checks will keep going out. YAWN.

khnum's picture

....remember the dead soldiers being flown home by charities or at the families expense last time round thats about when I lost all respect for these bastards

Normalcy Bias's picture

Despite all of the propaganda, the US treats it's soldiers poorly, and it's veterans like dirt. I'm amazed that they can still convince people to enlist.

Bemused Observer's picture

They train and arm 'em, then piss 'em off. That will backfire badly one day.

Occams_Chainsaw's picture

My dad who is a very proud retired Marine (24 years...Nam....AA) talked me out of joining after high school.  Said I needed to have my ass kicked but that the military was no longer worth joining up.  I have great respect for our soldiers and vets but do question their treatment and why they would sign up these days.  If my son wanted to join of his own choosing I would not stop him but I certainly don't encourage him either.  Sad state of affairs.

ZD1's picture

"Oh NO! They'll close some parks"


Sally Jewel, the mean looking woman with the clipped butch haircut who was appointed by Obama to head the Interior Department, is already working on plans to shut down all national parks and memorials if Congress doesn't pass a continuing resolution by Sept. 30.



Normalcy Bias's picture

Yep, once again going for max pain for the park tourists and those whose livelihoods depend on the parks for maximum media-driven propaganda impact.

kralizec's picture

Time for Bitch McConnell and John Boner to bend over and take it like good little whores (as usual)!!!


SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

We should hope for a sinkhole the size of the beltway to open up and swallow DC whole..

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

A dysfunctional congress is not a bug, its a feature. It's just too damned bad that they'll come up with a bad fix instead of just walking away.......

aliki's picture

there will be no government shutdown.

1. mcconnel and boehner don't have the balls to do it
2. the republicans are too scared to get blammed for another shutdown and risk losing the presidency and/or senate/house seats

the "right" thing to do would be for BOTH parties to come out and tell the amerian people THE TRUTH about the national debt and how its going to COMPLETELY fuck those at the lower & middle end THE WORST if & when this thing blows. STOP the deficit spending, make sequester-type cuts across the board, get to a balanced budget, and if need be hell id even default on the existing debt now + an add-in to the consititution visa-vi an ammendment where we NO LONGER EVER BORROW $$$ NO MATTER HOW BAD IT GETS ... if individuals wanna spend themsevles into bankruptcy, go nuts! so-long as a credit card agency is willing to take the chance, thats on them. i seem to remember reading a little something about no taxation without representation. to that end, i feel like (as chris rock once said) "you don't pay taxes, they take taxes" and i don't get 1. a say where the tax reciepts go 2. nor do i get a say on the over-spending they do.

AntiFabian's picture

They, both parties that is, will never do that because it would require them to give up their power and their personal wealth creation machine called crony capitalism.

More Ammo's picture

I keep hearing about these "two" parties but still can't tell the difference...

LawsofPhysics's picture

First of all, there has NOT been a REAL shutdown.  the language has been hijacked.  In fact, what happend last time was a two week paid vacation.

fuck em.