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Global Public Policy

After tax reform, then what?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that lawmakers would attempt to pass a short-term resolution next week to extend government funding beyond December 8 to December 22.  In typical end-of-year fashion, Congress could use that two-week period to craft a large omnibus measure to include not only spending measures but reauthorizing expiring programs -- and a plethora of other programs in order to get the necessary number of votes needed for passage.

A Senate spending bill would require 60 votes to pass, which means Republicans would need support from at least eight Democrats. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has stated he would vote against any stopgap bill that does not include protections for “dreamers” (young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents). Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has stated that her support is contingent on Congressional proposals to keep Affordable Care Act premiums at stable rates.

The parties would also have to agree on other proposals related to limits for defense and non-defense spending. Republicans have stated their support for capping all spending, except for that which is tied to defense. Democrats have signaled they would support raising caps for defense spending only if non-defense spending caps were also raised.

The last government shutdown occurred in October 2013 and lasted 16 days. During that time approximately 800,000 federal employees were furloughed without pay. Nonessential services (national parks, taxpayer-funded museums and NASA) were temporarily closed. Veterans Affairs benefits and passport services were also disrupted.