Hope is shining bright from the United States Capitol as a compromise is in the works to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate passed a resolution and now the House will have to pass it to avoid the March 27 drop-dead date.
The ball is in the House’s court. They need to pass a resolution that was just agreed upon by the Senate yesterday. But this is hardly the end of the budget battle. If this resolution passes the House today, it avoids a shutdown for now pushing the date back to September. And still a long battle lies ahead.
Compromise, it’s not a word often heard in the United States Capitol. But on this day, cooler heads may prevail.
In 73-26 vote, the Democratic controlled Senate passed a resolution that would avoid a government shutdown at least for now. The drop-dead date in DC is March 27. This latest bill bumps the new shutdown date to September 30.
“This is indeed a very important moment because as we move the bill we have shown we have done something pretty terrific,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski, (D) Maryland
Still in place, the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts called sequestration. The difference is some government agencies like the military will have the ability to shift funds around to make sure high-priority programs are funded. Not tackled, an answer to the long-term budget question.
“We call for a balanced approach that yes, asks the very rich to get rid of some of their tax breaks,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen, (D) Maryland.
The Senate is opening debate on its first budget in four years. The plan calls for $1 trillion in new taxes and modest spending cuts. The Republican controlled House will focus on deep spending cuts to social programs while trying to balance the budget by 2023.
“If I ask you for money and have no intention of giving it back to you, that is theft. And that is what opponents of the budget are offering today,” said Representative Mike Mulvaney, (R) South Carolina.
The long-term answer is going to be a whole lot harder to garner over the coming months. The two sides are miles apart and September is just a few months away.
The deal isn’t done just yet. The House is expected to vote on the Senate’s plan to avoid the government shutdown today. Most experts believe the House will pass the measure.
This of course sets the stage for a budget battle that will now focus on the summer time. That battle, like so many others, could get ugly.