Shutdown fears begin to heat up

The pressure is building as the government moves toward the end of fiscal 2015, and more budget watchers are warning that conditions are ripe for a government shutdown.

I wrote a roundup last week about the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the month, and now that Congress is actually back in session, the handicappers are out in force making predictions.

The Washington Post has a round up of predictions of budget and Capitol Hill experts. They place the odds at better than 50 percent chance of a shutdown. Their predictions range from over 50 percent to a 70 percent. The experts making the predictions include former GOP and Democratic budget directors.

A rosy picture it is not.

But article summarizes the issues that will make getting a continuing resolution a challenge:

  • The push to defund Planned Parenthood
  • Efforts to derail the Iran nuclear weapon deal
  • The need to raise the debt limit
  • Restarting the Export-Import Bank
  • Oh yeah, they also just have days left to get something done.

Stan Collender is quoted in the Post story via a column he wrote on Forbes.com. Other stumbling blocks he sees are what either party will demand to win support for a CR. In recent years, the House GOP leadership had to rely on Democrats to get enough votes when the conservative wing revolted. So what will the Dems want in exchange for their votes?

The GOP also will likely want to increase military spending and reduce domestic spending.

The calendar also might come into play. Fiscal 2015 ends on a Wednesday. The fiscal conservatives might be willing to let the government shutdown for two days and the weekend as a way of scoring a symbolic victory.

The Atlantic has an article looking at the views of the most conservative elements of the House GOP, who think that the budget fights in 2011 and 2013 didn’t go far enough. They are apparently following the example of Donald Trump.

Russell Berman writes that ”The Republican base just wants someone who will fight, anyone and everyone. The September 30 deadline for funding the government is an opportunity to fight, and the fight is what it's all about.”

Tighten your seatbelts, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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