Shutdown aversion plan not yet on Congress’ radar

If Congress means to avoid a government shutdown next week, it needs to act quickly.

With only three more working days this month, congressional leadership has no immediate plan to vote on a “clean” continuing resolution before Oct. 1.

Sources from the House Oversight and House Appropriations committees said Monday that a vote on a clean CR has not yet been scheduled for next week.

The House of Representatives on Friday did pass a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at pre-existing levels, but would block Planned Parenthood from receiving $528 million in government funds next fiscal year.

The resolution passed the House by a 241-187 vote. Both Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama said they will stop any bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. 

In the meantime, all 18 Democratic members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Monday warning against yet another government shutdown.

“Another Republican shutdown would cause horrendous results for our nation, particularly since the shutdown two years ago cost the American economy $24 billion, according to Standard & Poors,” the letter said

The House Oversight committee has a Planned Parenthood hearing scheduled for Sept. 29, one day before Congress would need to pass a continuing resolution.

Obama met with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate minority leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week and all agreed that a clean short-term continuing resolution is the way forward.

The President used his weekly radio address to make the case for keeping the government open.

“Democrats are ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans right now. But it should be over legitimate issues like how much do we invest in education, job training, and infrastructure – not unrelated ideological issues like Planned Parenthood,” Obama said. “We need to set our sights higher than that.  We need to reverse harmful cuts to middle class economic priorities, close loopholes that benefit only a fortunate few at the top, and invest more in the things that help our entire economy grow. There’s nothing principled about the idea of another government shutdown.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said as recently as July that there will not be another government shutdown.

But with less than  three working days left before the new fiscal year, House lawmakers are pushing up against an immovable deadline.

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