Huzzay! We Shan't Have A Government Shutdown Tonight! Probably!
Good news for fans of "basic functional government" last night, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that a deal had been reached to prevent a government shutdown, so agencies will still have staff, paychecks will keep going out, and the National Parks will remain open. This is a good thing. Schumer said there was an "agreement on the CR," or continuing resolution, and that the Senate would be voting today on the bill, to be followed by the House of Representatives in the afternoon. Just to add a bit of unnecessary (?) drama, CNN notes that the government will run out of funding tonight at midnight, and that Democrats
have so far projected confidence that a shutdown will not occur, but with the deadline rapidly approaching, lawmakers have no room for error.
This is where we reassure you that for years now, Congress has passed continuing resolutions to keep the government funded at current levels, often on the day a shutdown would otherwise kick in, and the only times there's been an actual shutdown have been when the threat to force a shutdown was telegraphed well in advance.
Then again, this is 2021, so we can't completely rule out the possibility that once the CR is passed by the Senate, the entire House side of the US Capitol may be spirited away by Tralfamadorians in flying saucers, leaving President Joe Biden without a bill to sign. But that seems at least only a 30 percent possibility at the moment.
The CR will fund the government only until December 3, after which we'll get to go through all this drama again, but that too is fairly normal; by then Congress will likely have passed a bunch of regular spending bills, or be close enough that one more CR will get the government into the new year, barring space persons. So it goes.
In addition to the basic government funding, CBS News reports, the bill also includes "$6.3 billion for relocation efforts for Afghan refugees, as well as $28.6 billion for disaster assistance following a spate of devastating hurricanes and wildfires." And since Joe Biden is not a petty tyrant, the states hit by hurricanes and fire won't have to worry he'll try to hold up the disaster funding after he signs it into law.
The stopgap spending bill does not, however, do anything to get past the Republican blockade of increasing the federal debt limit, because Senate Republicans are pure bastards. As you may recall, Republicans Monday filibustered a bill that would have funded the government and suspended the debt limit through December 2022. So while we'll avoid a government shutdown, Rs are still happy to play chicken with the nation's credit rating: Raising the debt limit is necessary to keep borrowing funds to cover spending the government has already done, and if the government defaults on those payments, that would tank both the US and the world economies.
But one crisis at a time: Assuming all of Washington DC isn't swallowed at noon today by the same black hole that eated that Malaysian airliner a few years ago, the government will stay open, and the debt limit impasse will be resolved, most likely through the reconciliation process, even if Chuck Schumer has been saying he doesn't want to do it that way. And as we've explained previously, reconciliation can be used once a year for the debt limit, so using reconciliation for that purpose wouldn't interfere with passing Biden's Build Back Better reconciliation bill, which we are still certain will get passed, even if it needs a few tweaks to satisfy THOSE TWO. Call us optimists!
Stay calm, and watch everybody carry on like it's the end of the world. Just keep an eye out for giant lizards converging on the Capitol.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please help us keep the Tralfamadorians at bay with a $5 or $10 donation.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.