President Trump’s 100th day in office, April 29, is fast approaching. With it, however, comes a possible shutdown of the federal government.
The current legislation on government funding is set to expire on April 28, leaving Congress with a deadline on passing a new one to keep the federal offices funded and running. The legislation, referred to as a “continuing resolution” or “CR”, keeps money flowing to federal programs and maintains previous spending levels. The Congress fiscal year ends on September 30, therefore if the bill is not passed, the government is left without funding for five whole months.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois pointed out the Republicans have the power to avoid the shutdown themselves. “We’ve given fair warning to the Republicans. If they want to play games and have a government shutdown, that’s their decision. If they want to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, they can do it easily,” said Durbin, “They’re in charge; they have the majority.”
Republicans currently control both Congress and The White House, so the shutdown would essentially be on their watch. However, major voices in the Republican party seem to disagree on whether a shutdown is imminent.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is confident that a shutdown will not occur, as he told CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell:
“Let me just say this, Norah. We’re not going to have a government shutdown…The president doesn’t want to have a government shutdown. It’s funding from April 28 to Sept. 30.”
Arizona Senator John McCain has different ideas, telling CNN he would not vote for a CR and would entertain the possibility of a shutdown, “if that’s the only option.” “I will not vote for a CR no matter what the consequences because passing a CR destroys the ability of the military to defend this nation, and it puts the lives of the men and women in the military at risk…I can’t do that to them.”
A government shutdown would mean non-essential government funded places, like national parks and museums, would close up and stop service. Government employees would be given a temporary leave of absence, save for crucial members like FBI agents and air-traffic controllers.
The funding is not entirely in Congress’s hands, however. President Trump himself has to sign the bill if it arrives on his desk. Debates on various portions of the federal budget, including increased defense spending, funding for Planned Parenthood and Trump’s border wall, could lead to an absence of Democratic votes, and a difficult time passing any funding at all.