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US lawmakers struggle to pass new funding bill as shutdown looms


US lawmakers struggle to pass new funding bill as shutdown looms

Capitol hill government shutdown
Capitol hill government shutdown
Photo: KP Tripathi

The US Government could shut down for the first time since 2013 today, as the third temporary funding bill of the fiscal year expires.

Senate Republican leaders are attempting to avert a shutdown by pushing a short-term bill that would see the government funded through February 16; they are at least nine votes shy of the 60 needed to keep the government operating.

With Republicans and Democrats at loggerheads over the status of “Dreamers”—adults brought into the US as undocumented children—the government is expected to shut down.

Last September, President Trump revoked an Obama-era executive order protecting some 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, leaving Congress with a March deadline to pass a protective immigration deal. Democrats have refused to sign any short-term funding bill without also passing such legislation, while Republicans are reluctant to put anything forward, as Trump is unlikely to sign it.

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With the situation stuck between a rock and a hard place, expect the US economy to suffer for it—2013’s sixteen-day shutdown cost the economy $24 billion and put 850,000 federal workers temporarily out of work.

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