Government May Partially Shut Down in Days

And an ever bigger shutdown looms next week
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2024 7:43 AM CST
No. 1 DC Agenda Item This Week: a Shutdown
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Prepare to hear three words a lot this week in regard to DC news: "looming government shutdown."

  • Two deadlines: Around 20% of government funding expires at midnight Friday unless the two sides strike a deal, with services including food stamps and housing assistance at risk, reports the Washington Post. A shutdown involving the remaining 80% could come the following week, with the deadline there on March 9.

  • Impasse: It's "all about House Republicans," particularly hardliners, who are pressuring Speaker Mike Johnson to "string out this fight as long as possible in order to trigger automatic spending cuts," in the assessment of Punchbowl News, which digs deep into the nitty gritty of negotiations. House Republicans also are making policy demands on issues including abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ rights, per the Post.
  • Busy week: The Senate is back Monday and the House on Wednesday, and hoped-for deals expected over the weekend never materialized, reports the Hill. President Biden will meet with the top four congressional leaders—Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakim Jeffries, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell—at the White House on Tuesday, per the AP.
  • One big problem: Biden and Johnson "have virtually no relationship," as an analysis at Politico explores. They rarely talk and barely know each other, and this chasm is contributing to the DC stalemates, according to the story. (Lawmakers barely avoided a shutdown last month.)

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