It’s do or die time for Congress. Unless they can pass a federal government funding bill in the next 10 days the government will shut down on October 1. And those 10 days are not all working days unless they decide to work through next weekend.
Congressional leaders have already given up on the idea of fully funding the government for the entire 2022 fiscal year and instead the current plan is to pass a “continuing resolution” (CR) that will fund the government at current levels until December 3. The idea is to give them more time to craft the legislation needed to fully fund the new fiscal year.
Unfortunately, this has become standard operating procedure in Congress, regardless of who’s in power. And even shutting down the government for a period of time is no longer seen to be the drastic action it once was.
But that’s not all Congress must do before October 1. The Secretary of the Treasury has warned that if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling very soon the government will default on its bills sometime in October. The “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government is at stake here and the repercussions of a government default are not totally known but they could be disastrous.
Fixing this problem seems to be more complicated than passing a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made it known that no Republican Senators will support raising the debt ceiling and without Republican support Democrats will have to resort to a special procedure called “reconciliation” in order to pass it because of the Senate filibuster rule. In the past there has been partisan squabbling over raising the debt ceiling but when it came right down to it both sides ended up voting to raise it. We’ll find out very soon whether that will happen this time.