To postpone the looming government shutdown for another 45 days, Congress signed a bill on Oct. 1 that would temporarily fund the federal government. This bill, known as a stopgap spending bill or a continuing resolution, provides funds for government agencies up until Nov. 17, provided that the House, Senate, and White House leaders all agree by then on a budget. However, the chances of a consensus being reached before the deadline look very low, according to AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Daniel Fouts. Government shutdowns “start when the government is unable to come to an agreement on a budget at the end of a fiscal year, which is October 1. It’s not the entire federal budget that shuts down, but certain parts of the federal budget do,” Fouts said.
“An example this year is the National Parks Service, so you couldn’t go to national parks because they weren’t funded. Another one would be TSA employees at airports. They would have to go to work, but they would not be paid. Other programs were unaffected, like the military” Fouts said. As of right now, the budgets for these facilities are restored to what they were at the beginning of the fiscal year, but after Nov. 17 those agencies and the employees that work in them will face those consequences until a budget is finalized.
First, the budget is passed by the House of Representatives, and then it moves to the Senate. It starts in the House and requires 218 votes, or a majority, to keep the government open. If a majority is not reached, the government shuts down.
Unfortunately, government shutdowns occur more frequently than you might think. “We’re so polarized we can’t even agree on a budget,” Fouts said. The current situation is further complicated by warring groups within the Republican members of the House of Representatives. Currently, the House of Representatives is led by the Republicans, who took 21 days of October to elect a Republican Speaker of the House after the prior one, Republican Kevin McCarthy, was voted out by far-right members of his own party.
“In the last 20 years, budget shutdowns have become common because it’s a way a political party tries to force another political party to negotiate with it. They will threaten a shutdown and say, if you don’t listen to us, give us what we want, we’re not going to vote to keep the government open,” Fouts said.