While much of the nation and Congress are focused on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, there remains just 27 days before the government is slated to shut down on Nov. 21 — and Congress will be in session for only 12 of those days.
There are a dozen spending bills pending that are needed to fund the government's operation, with much of the impasse being part of the continuing fight over how much to spend on the border wall between the United States and Mexico, reports NBC News.
An impending shutdown was averted in September when the Senate sent Trump a continuing resolution that extended the shutdown date to Nov. 21.
The move bought additional time for lawmakers to work to unclog the $1.4 trillion bundle of yearly spending bills, and it remains unclear if Congress will be able to avoid another continuing measure that would avert a shutdown again.
The government did shut down for 36 days last December, with Trump signing a bill on Jan. 25 that at that time reopened the government without funding the wall.
However, Democrats say they're concerned Trump will allow a government shutdown to once again proceed in order to turn public opinion against House Democrats while they push to impeach him.
"He used it for his almighty wall for the longest shutdown in history, so I don't put anything past him when it comes to this," Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told NBC News.
Earlier this week, the Senate voted 92-2 to start the debate on measures to fund the departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Justice, as well as the FDA, EPA, and National Science Foundation, reports Politico.
"I would always prefer no CR," Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby R-Ala., said. "But what's staring us in the face is Nov. 21. That's not far off."
Shelby and his House counterpart, Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., both said it's too early to determine how long a continuing resolution could cover, but neither ruled out a plan that would extend funding through December and into 2020, putting another potential shutdown into the election year.
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