Congress Avoids Shutdown, for Now

With passage of a temporary spending bill, Congress has averted a shutdown, at least for another couple of weeks.

The House and Senate passed a temporary funding bill for the next two weeks to avoid a partial government shutdown which would have started at the end of this week.

The House passed the stopgap bill on Thursday in a 235-193 vote, and the Senate followed suit Thursday evening in a 81-14 vote.

President Trump has signed the short-term spending bill, so the shutdown threat is now officially delayed through December 22. The bill keeps government operations running normally for the next couple of weeks, ultimately just buying more time for negotiators in Congress to try to sort out their differences.

According to news reports, the “Big Four” leaders in Congress – House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — met with President Trump at the White House on Thursday afternoon to debate the budget.

A senior Democratic aide told Politico that the vast majority of the talks focused on spending levels. Democrats want parity for any defense and non-defense spending increases to include areas such as health care, infrastructure and other domestic programs, whereas Republicans want the majority of any spending increases to go towards defense.

Ultimately the two parties did not come to a consensus, but now they have another couple of weeks to try to do so.

According to Politico, McConnell said after the meeting, “We had a good meeting. We agreed to keep on talking.” However, when asked if the group was any closer in reaching an agreement on spending caps, he added, “I wouldn’t say that, but it was a good meeting. Everybody wants to get to an outcome.”

It’s unclear at this point how the debates will go over the next two weeks, but federal employees can rest easy for now knowing that they don’t have to face a shutdown going into the weekend.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.