Congress must pass spending bill by Dec. 8, or face government shutdown

Every Congress in recent years has put off passing a budget until the last minute, and this year is no different. While one part of Congress will be focused on working out the differences between the House and Senate tax bills in conference committee, the entire Congress must work on passing a budget for next year.


The deadline is 12 midnight Friday, December 8. President Trump has said he does not foresee a deal with Democrats. But unlike with the tax bill, Democrats must be part of the negotiations, as a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority is needed to pass a budget bill. Trump has said he does not feel a government shutdown would hurt him politically, but Congressional Republicans are anxious to avoid one.


Democrats have signaled that several issues could be deal-breakers. They want the president to allow permanent residence for the nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants who came here as children. Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program has already expired, and Democrats want to renew it. Republican insistence on funding a border wall or defunding Planned Parenthood would also be deal-breakers for Democrats.


A government shutdown, or even the fear of one, is always a potential cause for concern in the Washington area, especially for businesses. With many federal workers already nervous about losing their job or taking early retirement, the prospect of a shutdown does not put people in a spending mood.

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