Entries in Government Shutdown (72)


House Votes To Avoid Shutdown With A One-Year Delay In Obamacare

iStockPhoto/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The House of Representatives has voted 231-192 to avoid a government shutdown with a one-year delay of key parts in Obamacare. The temporary budget resolution is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Aims to Pass Six-Month Stopgap Bill to Fund Government

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- This week, the Senate will attempt to stave off a government shutdown by working to pass a continuing resolution in order to keep the government funded.

The continuing resolution, known in Washington shorthand as the CR, is a stopgap appropriations measure. Congress is up against a March 27 deadline to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September.

The CR was approved by the House of Representatives last week but hit roadblocks this week in the Senate, stalled by amendments, battles over amendments and some senators objecting due to not even having time to read the actual text.

“To not allow us the time to assess what you have produced by being able to read and study the bill goes against the best traditions of the Senate,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said on the floor of the Senate this week. “Are we just to blindly say that we approve this bill because we have a deadline at the end of the month?”

The Senate bill keeps the same spending levels as the House bill, setting the top-line overall rate of spending at $982 billion, down from $1.043 trillion the previous fiscal year, but adds three appropriations measures — for homeland security and commerce; agriculture; and justice and science funds.

Over the weekend, key senators will work to come up with amendments to the bill and the Senate is expected to vote next week towards passage, a message communicated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to senators on Thursday evening as they left Washington for their home states.

“We need to move forward cautiously but quickly. We have next week,” Reid said on the Senate floor late Thursday night, asking for a small list of amendments “that we think would improve this bill and not further develop the ire of the speaker [House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio], who’s kind of in charge of a lot of what we do around here.”

The bill, when tweaked by the Senate, must be passed again by the House of Representatives.

Boehner has said that so far it does not look like the Senate’s changes to the CR will cause much of an uproar in the House of Representatives, meaning the bill as produced by the Senate could be easily and swiftly passed to President Obama for his final signature.

“I’ll wait and see what the Senate produces once it comes off the floor,” Boehner said this week of the Senate’s bill. “So far, so good.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sequester Government Shutdown Looks Unlikely

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It may not be readily obvious from the blizzard of news out there Friday on the “sequester,” but a government shutdown became significantly less likely Friday, even as the automatic budget cuts barreled ahead toward reality.

What happened? Both sides – Republicans and Democrats – basically seem to have agreed that as they will continue to fight out the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts starting to take effect Friday, they will not allow that disagreement to jeopardize full funding for the federal government. That funding is now scheduled to expire March 27.

After the White House meeting this morning, House Speaker John Boehner said he would have the House vote next week to fund the full government – what’s known as a “continuing resolution.”

Boehner: “I did lay out that the House is going to move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past March 27th, and I’m hopeful that we won’t have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we’re dealing with the sequester at the same time. The House will act next week, and I hope the Senate will follow suit.”

Boehner’s office provided this read-out of the meeting: “The president and leaders agreed legislation should be enacted this month to prevent a government shutdown while we continue to work on a solution to replace the president’s sequester.”

The president was asked at his mini-news conference whether he would definitely sign such a bill, even if it keeps government going at the new, lower spending levels as this fight is resolved (or not).

Obama’s response: “With respect to the budget and keeping the government open – I’ll try for our viewing audience to make sure that we’re not talking in Washington gobbledygook. What’s called the continuing resolution, which is essentially just an extension of last year’s budget into this year’s budget to make sure that basic government functions continue, I think it’s the right thing to do to make sure that we don’t have a government shutdown. And that’s preventable.”

So even as we moved toward the brink of sequester, the nation’s leaders took a step back from another, much larger cliff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Shutdown Averted: House Passes $1 Trillion Spending Bill 

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Capitol Hill is breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Both issues -- the payroll tax cut and the spending bill -- that threatened to shut down the government have been all but solved. There will be no government shutdown.

“Everyone doesn’t have to worry about the government closing today,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the Senate floor Friday morning.

Agreement came from the Senate Republican leader.

“I think everybody should be reassured that’s not going to happen,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., echoed. “The conference report has been signed and we’re moving toward completing the basic work of government through next September 30th very shortly.”

A short time later, by a bipartisan vote of 296-121, the House of Representatives passed the conference report that bundled nine appropriations bills in the form of the so-called Megabus. Republicans (147) and Democrats (149) joined forces to vote in favor of the package. Eighty-six Republicans and 35 Democrats voted against the bill.

“This bipartisan, bicameral agreement reflects our year-long focus on the American people’s top priority: jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said following the bill’s passage. “Now it’s time for Senate Democrats to support both this and our bipartisan measure extending payroll tax relief, extending and reforming unemployment insurance, and speeding up a decision on the bipartisan Keystone XL energy project.”

House Minority Leader Nancy urged the GOP to transcend that sense of bipartisanship into the year-end jobs bill pending before Congress.

“Today, the House came together in a spirit of compromise to keep the doors of the federal government open,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement after the vote. “Now, it is time for Republicans to remain at the negotiating table to extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans and unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. We must not recess for the holidays until we get the job done. We must act to strengthen our economy, our middle class, and our future.”

The Senate is not scheduled to vote until Saturday on the omnibus, technically after the deadline for final passage. The Majority Leader said final passage from the Senate is not necessary for Friday in order to avoid a shutdown at midnight that night, and that it will be just fine to hold the vote Saturday with no ramifications.

After the Senate votes Saturday, the omnibus will be sent to the White House.

 Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Negotiators Reach Agreement to Avoid Government Shutdown

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Members of Congress reached an agreement Thursday that could stave off the threat of government shutdown.

Senate leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday that Democrats are preparing a proposal for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut as well as an extension of unemployment benefits and the "doc fix."

Meanwhile, a key source said Democrats would sign a megabus conference report Thursday so that it can be filed in the House.  The $1 trillion spending plan could be approved by the House Friday -- and then by the Senate later that same day -- to avert a threatened shutdown Friday night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: There's No Reason for a Government Shutdown

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said Thursday that there is no reason for the government to shut down over the fight to extend the payroll tax cut and warned lawmakers again not to leave town for the holidays until this issue is resolved.

“There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to extend these items -- the payroll tax cut, [unemployment insurance] -- before the holidays.  There's no reason the government should shut down over this,” Obama said during remarks at a “We Can't Wait” event at the White House. “I expect all of us to do what's necessary in order to do the people's business and make sure that it's done before the end of the year.”

If a spending deal, or a temporary stop-gap measure, is not reached by Friday, much of the federal government will shut down.

“Let me repeat that:  Congress should not and cannot go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren't seeing their taxes go up by a thousand dollars and those who are out there looking for work don't see their unemployment insurance expire,” Obama said.

The president’s comments came as congressional leaders expressed optimism that a deal could be reached to resolve differences on a bill to keep the government running and extend the payroll tax holiday, which expires at the end of the year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Administration Prepares for Government Shutdown

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Cabinet secretaries are preparing for a government shutdown and will notify employees Wednesday afternoon on what the next steps would be should one happen.

“We do need to be prepared for any contingency,” said Kenneth Baer, spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, “and in case Congress does not act, we are taking the steps necessary to be prepared if a lapse in funding should occur. That is why agencies are sending emails to their employees this afternoon to alert them to this possibility and how it would affect them.”

A government shutdown is a very real threat, ever since President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed to tie the Omnibus appropriations bill to an agreement on extending the payroll tax holiday.

As the clock strikes midnight Friday night, funding for the government will run out unless there is some sort of deal.

On Sunday, it seemed as if there would be a way to avoid this. Though there were some outstanding issues, there had been a general agreement on a compromise for the Omnibus spending bill, which needs to pass for the government to continue operating.

That process is held up because Obama and Senate Majority Harry Reid don’t believe that a payroll tax cut holiday will be extended unless they force Congress to do so.

“There is not a deal on the Omnibus,” a senior administration official said when asked about the general agreement between Democratic and Republican appropriations committee staffers. “There is only a deal when the president is ready to sign a bill.”

Baer said, “there is no reason for the government to shut down. Congress can avoid a shutdown by passing an acceptable omnibus spending bill as well as an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits -- or by passing another short-term CR as Congress has done seven times already this year.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Sends CR to White House as Government Shutdown Averted

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After a tit-for-tat squabble over the past couple of weeks, the House of Representatives has put aside its differences and easily passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government open for business.

The move also buys Congressional leaders six more weeks to negotiate a deal to fund the government through the end of the FY12 before the next threat of a shutdown showdown reaches Capitol Hill.

In a strong bipartisan vote, the bill was approved 352-66 Tuesday afternoon; 182 Republicans and 170 Democrats voted to pass the measure, which funds the federal government through Nov. 18.

But the opposition to the bill wasn’t so evenly split, with 53 Republicans voting against the bill and just 13 Democrats opposing its passage.

Of the 53 Republicans voting against the measure, 25 are freshmen members -- a little less than one-third of the freshman Republican Class, which boasts 87 members.

Having already passed the Senate last week, the bill now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

“This common-sense measure will cut government spending for the second year in a row under a Republican-led House, ensure critical funding is available for Americans affected by natural disasters, and keep lawmakers focused on the top priority of the American people: jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement following the bill’s passage.  “I’m pleased to see such a large bipartisan majority come together to pass this measure, and hope we can continue to find common ground -- in Congress and with the White House -- on removing government obstacles to private-sector job growth.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Government Shutdown Averted... For Now

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives approved the Senate’s version of a temporary spending bill Thursday, avoiding a government shutdown.

The stop-gap measure, known as a bridge continuing resolution, funds the government through the end of the day Tuesday, Oct. 4. The bill now heads to the White House for the president’s signature.

The CR, which funds the government at the $1.043 billion spending level agreed to earlier this year, was approved by unanimous consent during a pro forma session as members of the House are on a week-long recess to mark the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Thursday’s pro forma session lasted all of the five minutes and 17 seconds it took the House chaplain to deliver a prayer, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, to maneuver through parliamentarian procedure to approve the measure.

Speculation that a single lawmaker would object to the short-term CR and request a roll call vote left the bill’s passage in doubt, but in the end none of the 24 Republicans and 179 Democrats that voted against the House-passed bill last week appeared at the Capitol Thursday to withhold their consent.

Next week, the House will return to session and lawmakers will hold a vote on the Senate’s long-term measure that would fund the government at the same level through Nov. 18.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is a Government Shutdown Looming?

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Once again Congress is tied up in knots over how to fund the government -- complete with dire warnings that a critical agency, in this case FEMA, is about to run out of money and that the entire government could shut down by week’s end.

Congress can’t seem to do anything anymore without going into crisis mode, but top Democrats and Republicans in Congress tell ABC News there is no doubt that this will be resolved.

Here’s what’s going on:

Congress must pass a funding bill before the fiscal year ends on Friday.  FEMA also needs emergency disaster money to keep it running for the rest of this year -- until the end of the week.

The showdown, which will play out with a Senate vote Monday at 5:30 p.m., boils down to this: House Republicans passed a temporary funding bill last week but they off-set FEMA’s emergency money with about $1.5 billion in spending cuts to two alternative energy loan programs.  Senate Democrats voted down the House bill because they oppose those cuts.

The off-setting cuts for the FEMA emergency funding represent a tiny portion of the overall bill to keep the government funded, and this is the only part of the bill in dispute.

There are three ways this dispute can be resolved -- and will be resolved by Monday evening:

1. At 5:30, if Senate Democrats get the 60 votes they need to pass the bill without the off-setting cuts, the House will be forced to come back from recess and pass the new bill with Democratic support.

2. At 5:30, if Senate Democrats fail to get the 60 votes, they would be forced to pass the House bill and accept the cuts they don’t like.

3. The entire issue could be resolved before the 5:30 vote.  How?  The administration is working to find accounting maneuvers that would enable it to find enough money to keep FEMA running for the rest of the week without more cash from Congress.  If that happens, there will no longer be a need to have off-setting cuts and the dispute will be over.

At any rate, ABC News has been told FEMA will likely not run out of money on Tuesday as it previously warned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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