The end of the fiscal year is two weeks away, and much of the work remains undone. If the Congress and President cannot agree on spending legislation, then agencies and programs that have not been funded will have to close until a compromise is reached. Part of the problem, however, is that various Members of Congress are perplexed as to the best way to achieve their own objectives.
One of the dynamics complicating the debates over the spending legislation is the Republican divisions on funding Obamacare. Although the party is largely united on its goal to repeal and replace the healthcare legislation, there are differences in opinion on the best way to do so. Some have argued that they should only fund the government if they defund Obamacare, but others, including the leadership, have rejected that tactic.
Despite disagreements over tactics, talk of a shutdown is highly overblown. Despite any dysfunction, Congress is usually able to pass some funding legislation, and enough Republican support will probably coalesce around a viable proposal.
Talk of a government shutdown inevitably draws comparisons with the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996 when the Republican-controlled Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton were unable to come to an accord. But, as former Representative Pete Hoekstra points out, they were still able to cut deals with each other. What gives now?