A government shutdown is looking more likely, says budget expert Stan Collender. President Trump’s cancellation of pay raises for federal employees provides another potential point of conflict between Congress and the White House this fall, and if lawmakers include a pay increase for government workers in a key funding bill – the Senate has already approved a pay raise and Collender expects the House to agree – Trump may veto the legislation and shut the government down.
Add in the simmering dispute over border wall funding and you get “two potential shutdown issues,” making “a Trump-induced government shutdown a month from today even more likely than it was before,” Collender writes.
The White House is currently reviewing its shutdown options, CNBC reported Friday, as officials look for ways to get $5 billion in funding to build the border wall. Administration officials are reportedly considering a “partial shutdown” strategy in which the president funds most of the government by signing most of the stand-alone bills lawmakers are expected to send him, while holding back – or threatening to hold back – on others unless he gets enough funding for the wall. This could reduce the political cost of a shutdown by avoiding the inevitable negative publicity associated with closed national parks and threats of delays in the Social Security payment system.
Nothing is settled on the matter, CNBC said, but one thing is clear: Time is running short. Lawmakers will have 11 working days when they return from recess next week to reach an agreement before government funding runs out at the end of September.