Government Prepares Employees For Shutdown As Congress Rolls Out Last Ditch (DOA) Stopgaps

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - 01:20 PM

The House and the Senate are both rolling out versions of a Continuing Resolution (CR) stopgap which would stave off a government shutdown. The problem is that there's no chance either chamber will pass the other's proposal.

The House plan, dubbed the Spending Reduction and Border Security Act, would extend funding through the end of October, but also includes spending cuts of around 30% - with the exemptions of national defense, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and for funding designated disaster relief, The Hill reports.

No Democrats are expected to vote for the House measure, meaning Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) can only lose four Republicans if the full house is in attendance - which McCarthy might not even have, as at least four House Republicans have gone on record opposing any short-term spending measure.

The House Rules Committee will consider the legislation Friday morning before a floor vote.

And if the House bill does pass, it will be dead-on-arrival in the Senate, which will lead to a shutdown.

The House short-term measure also includes a chunk of the party’s signature border bill, known as H.R. 2, which would boost wall construction, hiring of border agents and restrict access to asylum, among other measures.

The bill also calls for the establishment of a fiscal commission that would identify solutions to achieve what it called a “sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio” and to balance the federal budget. It would recommend changes to improve solvency for some programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. -The Hill

The Senate, meanwhile, is expected to pass its own short-term CR, however McCarthy and his colleagues won't even bring it to the House floor for a vote, according to the report.

On Thursday night, the US government notified federal workers that a shutdown appears imminent, as the Biden administration begins the formal process of preparing much of Washington to come to a halt on Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

The paychecks of millions of federal employees and military service members hang in the balance, while the looming government shutdown also means closed national parks, passport offices, and potentially more dire interruptions in federal housing, food, and health aid for the economically disadvantaged segments of the population.

Departments such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the IRS are also poised for significant operational challenges, given the potential furloughing of a significant majority of their workforce.

Members of the military are similarly expected to helm their posts in a shutdown without pay, creating the prospect of a “worst-case scenario” for the Defense Department, said Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary for the Pentagon. For each day Congress fails to act, she said the “bills are going to mount up” for troops who still must purchase groceries, cover rent and address other financial needs, adding: “We really shouldn’t be in this position.”

Michael Linden, a former top official at the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the notices reflected a hard political reality: Unlike past spending battles that yielded an 11th-hour deal, “the chances of a shutdown are much higher.” -WaPo

"If you’re 48 hours out from a potential shutdown, but it’s very clear there’s a [deal] on its path, then you might not do that," said Linden, adding "But if there isn’t, you are going to have to tell agencies to tell their teams, so people can start to plan."

Gaetz guns for McCarthy

Amid the turmoil, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says Kevin's gotta go.

Gaetz has railed against continuing resolutions that he blames for Washington's fiscal dysfunction, Politico reports (and as we predicted, throwing the Freedom Caucus under the bus for the shutdown).

"He wants Kevin," said a Gaetz friend. "That’s it, and everything else revolves around that."

Gaetz has by no means brought McCarthy to his knees by himself. But he has harnessed the anti-establishment fervor inside the House GOP like no other member, setting trap after trap for a speaker desperate to please his detractors and keep his job.

Past government shutdowns have been organized around a demand — reversing the Affordable Care Act, for instance, or building a border wall. This one, should it come to pass Sunday, is better understood as being centered on a long, nasty grudge.

The tensions spilled out again yesterday, with Gaetz angrily confronting McCarthy in front of the entire GOP conference. The scene rekindled questions about the factors driving Gaetz’s recent behavior.

According to senior GOP aides on the Hill and in Trump's White House, McCarthy would constantly shut down Gaetz' ideas which were floated to Trump. For example, during Trump's first impeachment, Gaetz pressured McCarthy to place Freedom Caucus members on the House Intelligence Committee leading the public hearings. McCarthy instead phoned Gaetz and read him the riot act.

"Gaetz has boxed McCarthy in," said one senior GOP aide close to McCarthy's orbit. "People think Gaetz is dumb, but ... he’s really smart."