For the second year in a row, President Trump has had to prevent a government shutdown in the run-up to the holiday season. The Democrats are still trying to stop funding for the border wall, and they seem happy to wreck the whole government to achieve that. Now, in a ridiculous replay of last year, Congress has bolted together a short-term funding plan at the last minute and the president has agreed to sign off on it. For now, the government won’t be shutting down — but how long will the Dems keep this farce going?
The federal government’s funding was due to run out midnight Thursday, Nov. 21st, and as usual agreement on renewing it was stymied by the Democrats’ refusal to fund proper security on our southern border.
- With no agreement in sight, the House and Senate have both been working on their own short-term funding bills in an attempt to buy time and avoid another shutdown. The House approved a bill earlier this week; now the Senate has brought its own bill into alignment with the House one and voted it through.
- The Senate vote took place less than 12 hours before the current finding package expired. Failure to pass it would have led to another shutdown, the third of the current administration. However, it passed on a 74-20 vote, with some Democrats and Independents voting against.
- Now the government is funded through to December 20th, which gets us out of the immediate crisis but means we’re now heading for yet another funding squabble right before the holidays.
- There were several spending priorities that helped secure agreement on this short-term package. The Census Bureau is preparing for the 2020 decennial census and needs to continue its preparations. More funding was needed for the highway network. Most importantly, the US military is due a 3.1% pay rise on January 1, and funds need to be available to cover that.
- Most objections to the short-term funding deal are linked to some of its non-financial provisions. The Senate bill also extends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allowing intelligence services to monitor people who’re actively trying to avoid surveillance.
- In the short term, we still have a functioning government. The big question is whether Dems will drop their hysterical opposition to the border wall and allow the government to get back to something approaching a normal funding cycle. Considering their track record, it doesn’t seem likely.
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