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Nick Wakeman

Is a weekend shutdown on the horizon?

I’m going to start with a caveat. Everything in this blog post is subject to change. OK: here I go (again).

As of a couple of weeks ago, I thought we wouldn't once again find ourselves on the cusp of a government shutdown.

Brinkmanship and bluster for sure, but this time we might actually see it.

One reason pushing this along is that the current continuing resolution ends on Friday. So the government could shut down for the weekend with little disruption to daily operations.

That is what I think is going to happen. But then again, maybe not.

A glance at a Google news feed and the stories' time stamps shows how quickly things are changing.

Older items -- and I am talking three hours or more – indicate that a shutdown is more likely.

Newer items -- less than an hour old -- seem to contradict the older stories.

First, it seemed that the Freedom Caucus -- the most conservative faction of the Republican caucus -- is balking at extending the continuing resolution to Dec. 22. They want the extension to go to Dec. 30 instead.

A Wednesday vote was pushed back to Thursday in the House in a victory for the Freedom Caucus. The Senate is still negotiating because the measure will need to capture at least eight Democratic votes.

The Senate is where the Democrats have the most leverage because of a very narrow majority there.

An important issue for the Democratic Party is the so-called "Dreamers," who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children. Democrats want to make protections permanent for this group. Many Republicans also support the move but is it enough?

All of this is going on just to get a three-week extension. Imagine what it will be like when they actually try to pass a full-year budget.

The reason I think we will have a so-called soft-shutdown over the weekend is that the Senate and House are arguing over different issues. So there are different sets of negotiations going on in each chamber. Then there are the negotiations between the two chambers.

And I have not even mentioned President Trump yet. He likes to tweet that a shutdown might be a good thing.

That is a lot of moving parts to get in sync by midnight Friday. Yes, they can do it but it might take an extra day or two to iron out all of the details.

And like I said, the worst debate is still to come.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 06, 2017 at 10:03 AM

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