Today marked the 11th day of the federal government shutdown, and many federal agencies and programs remain closed. Congress has been unable to come to an agreement over a temporary spending bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the federal government at current levels for a short period of time. This week, House Republicans proposed and passed a series of “mini CRs” that would fund certain portions of the federal government, but Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration have reiterated their demand for a “clean CR” which would instead fund the entire federal government and contain no additional provisions unrelated to spending.
Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified before the Senate about the need for Congress to raise the statutory debt limit or face severe economic consequences when the debt ceiling is reached on October 17th. Secretary Lew’s testimony, combined with increasingly unfavorable polling data for the Republican party, has made both sides increasingly amenable to negotiations over these issues.
Last night, President Obama met with the Senate Democratic Caucus and later with a smaller contingent of House Republicans. After these meetings, a new GOP proposal surfaced which would create a six-week extension for the debt limit and set up a framework for negotiations to reopen the federal government. While promising, these proposals fall short of the preconditions Senate Democrats and the White House have set, and it remains unclear how the process will unfold. Negotiations are set to continue and the House will remain in session through next week, canceling a previously scheduled recess.
Check our blog for updates on this evolving situation.
Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate