WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Reset your shutdown clock for Dec. 11

The fiscal cliff hasn’t exactly been averted, just avoided as the Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 11, and the House as of this writing has approved the rules to debate the bill.

As of this writing, the House hasn’t voted on the bill itself, but given the 239-187 vote on the debate, the House will pass the CR before midnight.

So, the government will not shutdown on Oct. 1, instead we get to look forward to midnight on Dec. 11.

And as the New York Times wrote: “The temporary spending bill does nothing to resolve the core disputes between Republicans and the White House, setting up even bigger battles in the months ahead.”

I’m not sure what can happen between now and Dec. 11 to move either side. Yes, we’ll have a new speaker of the House, but will that make much of a difference? Perhaps, if Congress passes a funding bill that strips money from Planned Parenthood and sends it to the White House. But it will surely be vetoed.

But that might be the statement the conservative wing of the GOP wants.

I’ve heard some speculation that a best case scenario may be passage of a continuing resolution that covers the entire year. That would get us to the brink of the presidential election. If this happens, I’d predict another CR to push the budget past the election itself.

It’s not clear what a CR does for sequestration. If it doesn’t meet those budget goals, or if those goals aren’t delayed again, we’ll see those automatic cuts kick in.

As more than one executive has told me over the last couple years, "just pass a budget." The industry and the economy as a whole just needs some clarity and some predictability. The only predictability now is that Congress is dysfunctional.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad the government isn’t shutting down on Oct. 1, but I’m just not sure what will happen between now and Dec. 11. As someone on the outside, it looks like Congress hasn’t even started working on a fiscal 2016 budget deal, other than posturing.

That’s what’s frustrating and sad. So, while its good that a shutdown as been avoided, I see no reason to celebrate.


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 30, 2015 at 9:31 AM

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