Government Shutdown Looms: Lawmakers and President Brace for Impact – As the clock ticks down to a potential government shutdown, lawmakers and President Joe Biden’s administration are preparing for a potential financial deadlock.
With just one week until the current spending plan expires, the nation stands at the edge of an uncertain fiscal precipice.
White House Takes Preemptive Action
The Biden administration is not waiting for the deadline; they are already sending directives to agencies, instructing them to begin preparations for a potential shutdown. The Office of Management and Budget has advised agencies to update their shutdown plans, specifying which employees will be furloughed and which services will be curtailed.
The Key Players
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are central figures in this looming financial crisis. While McCarthy’s House Republicans are facing internal discord, Schumer is engaged in discussions with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, to formulate a plan to avert a shutdown.
In the Republican camp, a faction of conservative members, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, is insisting on debating individual spending bills instead of opting for temporary plans to keep the government functioning after the September 30 deadline. This disagreement poses a significant hurdle, given the narrow majority Republicans hold in the House.
The Trump Factor
Former President Donald Trump, an influential figure in the Republican party and a 2024 frontrunner, has effectively endorsed a shutdown. He is urging GOP lawmakers to terminate funding for criminal prosecutions against him, a desire that cannot be fulfilled as a shutdown would not affect law enforcement operations.
What the Experts Told Us: ‘Little Reason’ For Politicians to Compromise
Andrew G. Biggs, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told 19FortyFive: “I think it’s likely that we will face at least a short government shutdown, since politics these days are at least as much about performing for your own supporters as it is about negotiating an agreement with the other side.
“Until a shutdown occurs and elected officials begin to feel the downsides of a shutdown, there is little reason to compromise. However, government shutdowns generally work against the Republican side, so I suspect that after a brief shut down moderate Republicans may be able to convince their more conservative colleagues to spending levels that the speaker and the president have negotiated,” he explained.
Biggs, who works on tax reform for the major center-right think tank based in Washington DC, stressed that it “is clear that something does need to be done about budget deficits, which are rising from the already high levels we faced last year. However, if one side does not want to cut spending and the other side does not want to raise taxes a resolution obviously becomes much more difficult.”
A Tense Week Ahead
With essential services like national defense, law enforcement, Social Security, and Medicare set to continue even in the event of a partial government shutdown, the week ahead promises to be tense and pivotal in determining the nation’s financial stability and political dynamics.
As the deadline draws nearer, both parties face critical decisions that will impact millions of Americans and shape the political landscape moving forward. The nation holds its breath, awaiting a resolution to this impending fiscal crisis.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
From the Vault