Another government shutdown crisis?
It’s hard to conceive of a better way to shatter what little faith remains in Washington. And of course, for some people that may be just the point.
By a margin of 195-230, the U.S. House yesterday rejected a continuing resolution needed to fund the government beyond Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. Most House Democrats voted against the resolution because they oppose deep cuts made in other programs to fund emergency-relief measures, arguing that such cuts in rough economic times will cost thousands of jobs.
Conversely, a group of almost 50 Republicans voted against the bill — against pleas from their own leadership — because in their eyes it didn’t cut deep enough. In fact, they insist that their party’s leadership break the spending deal that was agreed to just last month with the Senate and President Obama.
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia was one of the leaders in that conservative effort, which was joined by Reps. Austin Scott and Paul Broun.
Somewhere, House Speaker John Boehner has to find 23 more votes for the measure. As the Washington Post notes:
To pass a bill, House leaders will have to rewrite the measure to appease either Democrats or the more conservative wing of their own party. They must send a bill to the Senate for approval before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Otherwise, the government will shut down.
The temporary measure is necessary because the House and Senate have failed to agree on appropriations bills to fund government for the whole fiscal year. The stopgap is designed to buy time for negotiations to continue when the fiscal year ends.
And if the House somehow manages to pass the measure, it must then be adopted by the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said his chamber won’t accept the changes being demanded by conservative House members, meaning a shutdown is at least plausible.
““The tea-party-driven House of Representatives has been so unreasonable in the past, I don’t know why they should suddenly be reasonable,” he told reporters.
– Jay Bookman