Budget & Taxes

One Day Until a Possible Government Shutdown

Playbook: “The threat of the government running out of spending authority is quite real. That doesn’t mean government is going to shut down. That just means that the nation’s finances are operating on a high wire, at the moment, and lots can go wrong.”

“As of right now, GOP leadership plans to bring the 28-day stopgap funding bill to the floor late today. Reminder: The measure contains a six-year extension of a key children’s health program, and a delay of a host of Obamacare taxes. The idea: attract some support from Democrats, and make it a bit sweeter for Republicans.”

Key thing to watch: “If House Democrats jump in and support the bill after it gets across the finish line, it would be hard for Senate Democrats to vote no.”

Republicans Don’t Have Votes to Prevent Shutdown

“House Republicans are short of the votes they need to avoid a government shutdown, but Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders remain confident they will pass a stopgap funding measure when it comes to the floor on Thursday,” Politico reports.

“President Trump is personally leaning on GOP lawmakers to fall into line, especially hard-line conservatives who are opposed to virtually anything Ryan and his leadership team propose.”

Boston Globe: “Democrats, whose brand as a party is based on government’s potential to positively affect lives, are seriously contemplating a government shutdown for the first time since Republicans won back Washington in last year’s elections.”

The Hill: Shutdown drama grips the Capitol.

Odds of a Shutdown Grow

Caitlin Owens: “A government shutdown is looking more likely as hardliners in both parties dig in, meaning Congress may not have the votes to pass a spending bill by the end of the week. But again, it’s only Wednesday, and there’s going to be strong pressure to not let federal funding lapse.”

“Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are saying they won’t back the bill, meaning Republican leaders will need help from Democrats who say they won’t offer it. The Democratic base is pressuring its members to hold the line on immigration — and get a solution to DACA included in any spending bill.”

Reuters reports President Trump said a federal government shutdown “could happen” by the end of the week, insisting that Democrats would be blamed if that happened.

GOP Has Plan to Keep Government Open for 28 Days

Playbook: “Two pockets of Republicans to keep an eye on: conservatives and defense hawks. Most conservatives seem to realize they can’t reject this plan. But you can see strategically why they might: this short-term deal sets up a big immigration compromise, and a massive spending-cap accord next month — neither of which is expected to get much conservative support. Some conservatives are pushing for a plan that simply will not work: a full year of defense funding combined with a month of funding for the rest of the government. That all being said, it seems like this leadership plan has a decent chance of working.”

“The White House doesn’t want a shutdown — even though they say they will blame it on Democrats, the administration has been working over Republicans to ensure the thing doesn’t shut down.”

GOP Weighs Children’s Health Insurance as Lure

“With little hope of an immigration agreement this week, Republicans in Congress are considering a plan to head off a government shutdown this weekend by pairing another stopgap spending measure with long-term funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, daring Democrats to vote no,” the New York Times reports.

“The bill would set up another possible showdown in mid-February, when government funding would again be set to expire. But it would give lawmakers time to continue negotiations on immigration and long-term government funding levels.”

Who Would Be Blamed for a Shutdown?

New York Times: “Democrats facing re-election in states that Mr. Trump carried in 2016 fear that a government funding crisis, precipitated by an immigration showdown, could imperil their campaigns. And they are growing increasingly uneasy that liberal colleagues eyeing White House bids are demanding that any spending bill beyond a stopgap measure that expires on Jan. 19 include protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.”

“But Republicans face their own uncertainties. With their party controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, they could receive most of the blame for a shutdown, even if Senate Democrats effectively block a spending plan that does not extend the immigrant protections of an Obama-era program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.”

The Guardian: Trump blames Democrats as deadline looms.

Immigration Deal Highly Unlikely This Week

Playbook: “Aides to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are continuing to talk and are likely to meet this afternoon to continue to try to work out an immigration deal. Based on what we know about Congress, there is a zero percent chance that a deal can be reached at this point and passed this week.”

“The big question: Will Congress be able to pass a short-term stopgap spending bill this week? Will House GOP defense hawks and conservatives give the leadership another month of negotiating? Will Senate Democrats allow a short-term spending bill to pass without an immigration deal?”

Odds of a Government Shutdown Just Shot Up

“Chances of a government shutdown grew Monday as Republicans concluded that they would be unable to pass a long-term spending bill by the Friday deadline,” the Washington Post reports.

“GOP leaders are now turning to a short-term funding measure in hopes of keeping agencies open while talks continue, but Democratic leaders say they are unlikely to support any deal that does not protect young illegal immigrants.”

New York Times: “President Trump’s incendiary words about immigration have dampened the prospects that a broad spending and immigration deal can be reached by the end of the week, raising the possibility of a government shutdown with unknown political consequences for lawmakers in both parties.”

Trump May Need a Shutdown

Stan Collender: “Technically, a shutdown will occur because the legal authority for the government to spend money will expire. In reality, however, the real reason will be that someone involved in the negotiations will view this as an opportunity to be seen as a political badass by his, her or their base.”

“This week, Donald Trump is most likely to be that person.”

“Given the various firestorms that have occured just this past week — the book, the remark about Haiti and African countries and the hush money paid to a porn star — Trump may want to reassure his base that he is still very much in charge by refusing to sign even a simple, clean and short-term extension of the current continuing resolution. Even if it doesn’t include anything about immigration, Trump could still demand funding for his wall and say he is more than willing to shut down the government until he gets it.”

Congress Likely to Pass Another Short Term Funding Bill

Jonathan Swan: “Congress will likely — at the last minute, of course — pass a short-term  funding bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), to keep the government open while they keep negotiating on the big ticket items.”

“There’ll be no immigration deal before the deadline. Democrats and Republicans are far from agreeing on a DACA deal, and the president is still raging after Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin and others presented him with what he considers a completely unacceptable ‘bipartisan deal.'”

Why Republicans Won’t Pass a Budget

Stan Collender: “McConnell said his plan not to do a fiscal 2019 budget was based on a soulless political calculation that his new 51-49 majority will make it hard, very hard or impossible for the Senate GOP to pass its own budget resolution this year, let alone to adopt one that will be acceptable to the House.”

“But what McConnell didn’t say was that the fiscal 2019 budget resolution will be the first that will show the bottom line impact of all the GOP policies: a $1 trillion or higher annual deficit every year of the Trump administration and beyond. Even if Congress and the Office of Management and Budget again choose to ignore the facts, the Congressional Budget Office, Wall Street and other private sector analyses will project annual trillion dollar deficits. McConnell doesn’t want his Republican members to face the political repercussions of having to vote for that.”