Congressional Debate on Government Funding and Shutdown Still Ongoing

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that House Republicans plan to announce another short-term federal government funding plan today that will extend three weeks past the current resolution’s expiration date of March 18:

News of the House Republican plan came on a day the federal government reported its biggest one-month deficit in history. The deficit for February was $222.5 billion, as government spending of $333.2 billion more than tripled its $110.7 billion in revenue, Treasury Department figures showed. The second-highest deficit in U.S. history was $220.9 billion in February 2010.

The Obama administration has projected that the federal government this fiscal year will run the largest deficit in its history, at $1.65 trillion. It usually posts a bigger deficit in February because it pays out tax refunds to early filers while having just 28 days to collect revenues.

In addition, the deficit last month reflected the high joblessness that has undercut tax revenue and caused the government to spend money compensating those out of work.

The pathway into law of a short-term spending bill remains unclear. Assuming it cleared the Republican-led House, Senate Democrats might agree to certain spending cuts, aides to Democratic lawmakers said. But the two parties would wind up in a battle if the cuts came from programs Democrats favor.

A new funding measure is needed because Republicans and Democrats remain more than $50 billion apart on legislation to finance the government for the remaining six and a half months of the 2011 fiscal year.

Earlier this week – March 9 – the US Senate defeated both Republican and Democrat proposals for a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year (Sept. 30).  The two proposals were about $50 billion apart, with the Democrats proposing $12 billion in spending cuts and the Republicans proposing $61 billion in cuts.

This MSNBC article summarizes the issues concerning the two proposals.

The potential federal government shutdown could be detrimental to Maryland’s economy as there are many federal government employees and federal government contractors living in our state. For MACo’s prior coverage of this facet of the shutdown, please click here.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) published a document explaining the cuts in HR 1 – the House version of the continuing resolution bill.

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