Government Shutdown UPDATE from Washington, D.C.

Our friends at Heritage Action for America provided the update below on the spending fight in Washington, D.C. This includes messages to deliver to your members of Congress and how to contact them.

Let’s speak up until they get the message!

Government funding for the federal government expires tonight at midnight. As of this morning, neither the House nor the Senate have passed a bill (or set of bills) to fund the entirety of the Federal Government.

Any plan passed in one chamber would need to be passed in the other, but on key policies, there is currently a mile of daylight between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. In short, there is almost no chance of a deal being reached today — a government shutdown is all but certain.

To grapple with what all this means, there are 3 things to know:

  • What are the issues at play
  • Where do things stand in each chamber
  • How it will be resolved

Let’s take a look:

The Key Issues

The United States is on two unsustainable paths. First, Congress spends too much, resulting in a crippling debt. Second, we have an open border that is saddling our nation with multiple crushing burdens: crime, lawlessness, fentanyl deaths, stagnant wages, and depletion of government services.

And so, conservatives in Congress have made cutting spending and securing the border the two essential elements that any spending deal must have.

There is also a need to end President Biden’s abuse of power. The DOJ, FBI, IRS, and other departments are being weaponized against Americans and to target Biden’s political enemies. Cutting spending for these weaponized departments is a first step to fixing the problem.

Democrats are also pushing priorities — they just aren’t the priorities of the American people. Democrats demand no spending cuts while desiring increased spending for Ukraine.

What’s Happening in the Senate

Democrats control the Senate, and Senator Chuck Schumer has put forward a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for 45 days at current, bloated levels in addition to billions of dollars for Ukraine. It’s a disastrous proposal and Heritage Action has issued a key vote in opposition.

While the Senate is expected to vote on it later today, it’s a complete non-starter for conservatives in the House, as it fails on every policy that matters:

  • There’s no spending cuts
  • It doesn’t secure the border
  • It contains $6 billion in additional Ukraine funding (without any meaningful oversight of taxpayer dollars)

Click on THIS LINK to contact your members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The link takes you to a page where you can find your members of Congress and send them a message to oppose this bill.

It also includes a button to click that will give you the Washiington, D.C., phone numbers for your members of Congress. Call them during normal office hours and tell them to OPPOSE Sen Schumer’s CR.

Democrats may win over enough Republicans to get 60 votes in the Senate for the CR, but this proposal is dead on arrival in the House.

What’s Happening in the House

Republicans control the House, and leading up to this week, Speaker McCarthy encouraged moderate republicans to work with conservatives on a plan.

Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Chip Roy — two members of the House Freedom caucus — led the discussions to secure substantive wins for conservatives. The proposed agreement was a 30-day funding measure to keep the government open, paired with spending cuts and border security.

Here are the details:

Secures the border with H.R. 2 (Secure the Border Act): ends asylum fraud, ends catch-and-release, closes loopholes, and continues construction of the border wall. Cuts non-defense discretionary spending nearly 30% (down to $1.47 trillion topline). While the short-term stopgap funds the government for 30 days, the border security wins are permanent.

Yesterday, Speaker McCarthy put this proposal to a vote, but despite the policy wins on border and spending levels, the bill failed 232-198, with 21 Republicans voting “No.”

After Friday’s failed vote, House Republicans regrouped to continue working on a plan. Part of those discussions focused on a schedule to continue voting on the 12 year-long spending bills.

Whatever process results from these discussions, members of Congress must not lose sight of the need to deliver significant policy wins for the American people on these two issues:

  • Spending Cuts
  • Border Security

How it will be Resolved

Depending on where you live and the work you do, you may not immediately feel the impact of a government shutdown.

But as we often lament, the reach of the federal government into our daily lives is significant. Including military personnel, there are 3.4 million federal employees, and double that number working as federal contractors. Starting on Monday, only employees deemed “essential” will show up for work.

Some of the impact of a shutdown will be up to the Biden administration’s discretion. For instance, there is some latitude in who is deemed an “essential worker.” There can also be an element of pettiness to “increase the pain” and score political points. President Obama once made the decision to close down all national parks during a shutdown — going so far as to do extra work to rope off open-air parks like the WWII memorial and barricade scenic lookouts along the highway.

In contrast, during a later shutdown, President Trump chose to keep many national parks open; but without federal employees to clean the restrooms and take out the trash, visitors still felt the shutdown’s impact.

A critical threshold for government shutdowns comes at the two-week mark when federal employees miss their first paycheck. Federal employees are guaranteed back pay after a shutdown ends, but in the meantime, there will be a multitude of media stories about federal employees who live paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to make ends meet. The fact is, 56% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

The suffering may be real, but the crocodile tears from Democrat politicians will not be. Remember how they gleefully fired government employees who refused the vaccine, and recall how they extended lockdowns to increase their authority. Democrat leadership has a history of inflicting economic pain on Americans to further their agenda.

But over time, the political pressure to reach a deal will build — it’s practically a foregone conclusion. What is undecided, is what the deal will be.

Engaging today matters! Call your RepresentativesCall your Senators. Don’t just call once. Keep calling as long as it takes to win on the policy.

The message is simple: We need to cut spending and we need to secure the border.

We need to make sure the government is working for the people. This is the path forward.

Ryan Walker, Executive Vice President, and the Heritage Action team