This week will play out a story that is repeated over and over again in Washington — lawmakers are rushing to reach an agreement on funding the government past a date certain, and if they don’t, we face the threat of a .
As USA Today reported last month, it seems those in political power thrive on the deadline pressure: “Members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees intend to have a bill ready the week of April 24, just days before the current stopgap funding for federal agencies is set to expire, House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said …, The timeline is especially tight because lawmakers are scheduled to be in session only about a dozen days between now and the midnight April 28 deadline.”
This report was from the last week of March and now the final week of April is upon us and the rumblings have begun anew.
As Politico reported last week, “Working down to the wire on a spending package is nothing new for the modern . And the odds are against a funding lapse. But both parties see the must-pass funding bill as leverage to secure their priorities, making the situation dicey.”
Dicey, dramatic and full of political bluster should describe the coming week in Washington, and even though Politico reports the odds of a are minimal, the article outlines five items that could make that happen and which will certainly be topics of intense debate this week.
The five items named are the border wall, “Sanctuary Cities,” planned increases in defense spending, Obamacare subsidies and coal miners’ benefits.
How each side of the political aisle chooses to dig in its heels on these will likely set the tone for the week. And, as the report reminds us, “A government would begin on Trump’s 100th day in office, and Republicans are desperate to show they can govern after their failed push to repeal Obamacare.”
Whether the GOP can unite its factions and find a way to advance its agenda (assuming it can agree on one) remains to be seen.
Politico seems to put little stock in the idea of an actual agreement this week to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year in September: “Appropriators from both parties have made progress in negotiations, but aides say legislation to fund the government through September is unlikely to be unveiled before the recess is up. In fact, a one-week extension to give more time to work is increasingly likely, as a slew of thorny political issues remain.”
So here we are, in the 11th hour once again, preparing for a litany of political grandstanding and punditry under the apocalyptic threat of a government .
We expect the result may be the same as we have seen dozens of times before — the negotiations will go down the wire, and the threat of the backlash from a will force the majority to abandon its promises out of fear.
A short-term agreement is likely, and then we get to play this game again. We hope for better but expect nothing else.