Shutdown Looms: Three Days Left And Counting…

April 5, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

With T-minus three days until the next deadline to prevent a government shutdown, President Obama is inserting himself into the budget debate today in a sit down with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.,  House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky.

It’s hard not to draw an analogy to the age-old “don’t make me pull this car over” threat issued by scores of parents to their bickering offspring. Until now Obama has largely stayed out of the fray, mostly relying on his staff and Vice President Biden to communicate the White House stance on budget priorities to Congressional negotiators.

With no official deal on the table, the partisan sparring about spending priorities is starting to look a bit like a childish scuffle. And Obama looks like he may be pulling the car over to give all parties involved a scolding—or at least to try and bring them all to the table again.

According to news reports during the last week, the White House and Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress could be close to a deal that would cut just over $30 billion from fiscal year 2011 spending. It’s a compromise that cuts more than Democrats would probably like to trim, but significantly less than the House-passed (and Senate-killed) H.R. 1, which cut just over $60 billion. This morning stories broke that House Republicans could be prepping yet another short-term continuing resolution that would cut $12 billion more, either as a serious proposal or as leverage to use in ongoing negotiations for a longer term solution.

But the question remains: will conservative factions in the House vote for the compromise? Tea party activists converged on the Hill last week chanting about shutting the government down if deep spending cuts weren’t implemented. And Boehner has issued public statements denying that there’s a deal in the works. Publically at least the sparring had continued.

It’s creating a volatile atmosphere, and many in Washington are poised for a shutdown.

We’ll keep you posted this week as debate shapes up in the countdown to the April 8 expiration of the CR that is currently funding government operations.

What’s your role in the grantseeking/making process and how would you be impacted by a government shutdown? How are you preparing for it?

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