Government Shutdown Looms Over Congress
As all eyes have been fixed steadily on the presidential election, Congress has had a relatively easy year in the press. For the past year and a half, the media focused its attention mostly on Donald Trump-giving lawmakers some breathing room. But as it comes time for another Continuing Resolution, there is more talk of the government shutting down.
The government actually shutdown when Senator Ted Cruz refused to let a CR pass that funded Obamacare. This helped him rise to fame, but for many politicians, the shutdown greatly hurt their political careers. There was a real sentiment that Washington was broken and could no longer get things done. This same sentiment is part of the reason Donald Trump climbed to first place, and why the general theme of the election has been very anti-establishment.
So why does the government always seem to threaten a shutdown when it comes to funding? Because this is the time that politicians can put their money where there mouth is. When they promise their constituents that they will get an issue done, it’s their chance to prove they will not cave and let Congress pass funding for a certain issue.
This time, the issue is once again Planned Parenthood. Since the Senate failed to pass a Zika funding bill for the third time today, Republicans want to put funding for the disease in the CR. The Zika relief bill has been blocked by Democrats because Republicans put in wording that would defund Planned Parenthood. The relief bill would allocate 1.1 billion to the virus. President Obama called for Congress to give 1.9 billion last February. As they have failed to pass a bill, the White House has been using funds originally allocated to fight Ebola.
The showdown now surrounds if the Republicans will change the wording to allow Zika funding without defunding Planned Parenthood. The Republicans will be under close scrutiny to pass a CR and keep the government running-especially right before a hard election that risks losing the majority in the House and Senate. Republican leadership said they are confident they will get something passed, but the September 30th deadline still looms ominously in the distance.