Once again, Congress is looking at the possibility of triggering a partial government shutdown if lawmakers can’t reach an agreement on a stopgap budget measure by the end of this week.
Lawmakers avoided a shutdown in October by passing a short-term budget extension through Dec. 3. At the time, the hope was that time would give Democratic and Republican negotiators time to work out a full-year spending plan for fiscal 2022.
Instead, two months into the new fiscal year, that agreement still appears far away. House and Senate leaders are considering whether to agree to another budget bill until the end of the month, in hopes of finding a path ahead, or push the issue into 2022, after the holiday season.
If those talks break down or stall in coming days, the result could be federal worker furloughs and pauses in non-essential military activities as agencies are forced to halt operations due to a lack of funding.
Both chambers also hope to make progress on the annual defense authorization bill this week. The Senate is expected to finalize its draft of the massive military policy and spending legislation early this week, with the goal of negotiations with House lawmakers and final passage sometime next week.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.