Congress closes deal on partial budget before shutdown deadline

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill could reach a partial budget deal to temporarily avert a government shutdown “as soon as today,” a source familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.

Negotiators are working on a deal on six funding bills, four of which expire Friday.

Congressional leaders have been optimistic so far about the deal, especially after a meeting Tuesday at the White House with President Joe Biden and four top congressional leaders, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

“We’re very close to getting it done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

However, a partial shutdown is still not out of the question.

If negotiations end Friday without a deal, Johnson does not plan to sign a short-term spending bill to keep the government fully open this weekend, according to the person.

The source said that if the talks “break down, there could be a disruption”.

A partial shutdown would affect several government agencies, including agriculture, veterans affairs, transportation and housing. The rest of the government is set to run out of money on March 8.

Once a deal was reached, Johnson agreed to a short-term spending bill, called a continuing resolution, to push the first funding deadline to March 8 and the second to March 22.

“Any CR would be part of a broader agreement to complete certain appropriations bills, ensuring sufficient time for text to be drafted and for members to review before a vote,” Johnson spokeswoman Athina Lawson said in a statement.

What a partial closure looks like

If the four funding bills expire on Friday, their respective agencies will close on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Budgets for Medicare and Social Security will remain untouched, as they are not funded by appropriations bills. And government shutdowns don’t tend to move markets significantly, although they can fuel perceptions of economic uncertainty.

The immediate impact is felt most harshly in the halls of government.

A partial shutdown would leave the roughly 100,000 federal employees of those agencies without pay for any new work during the shutdown, whether they are laid off or not. These workers are legally required to receive back pay when the government is back up and running.

However, some contract workers do not enjoy pay protection and may not receive compensation for unpaid work during a shutdown.

“A lot of the subcontractors never get paid, so a lot of the janitorial staff and the cafeteria staff,” he said. Bobby Coganformer budget adviser under Biden.

“You talk to people around D.C., there are many millions of people who lost out and were never made whole during a government shutdown.”

Aside from payroll, the first day of the government shutdown looks different by agency and program, according to Kogan.

For example, most of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair housing-related activity “will cease immediately,” according to Kogan. This means that housing discrimination cases will take longer to be heard.

The Department of Agriculture will also specifically stop most of it Agricultural development loan and assistance programs during a shutdown, which could delay funding for health care, emergency response, and other services within rural communities.

Many veterans programs will remain funded because much of their budgets are written a full year in advance, which largely protects them from shutdowns. However, the Veterans Affairs legal services branch will be shut down, according to Kogan.

But these are results of the first day. The longer the outage continues, the worse it gets.

“If it goes on long enough, our states are going to start going crazy and backing away from their own programs,” Cogan said. “Outages are bad, but the longer they last, the more catastrophic they become.”

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