Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shutdown Update

by Bill McBride on 9/29/2015 02:14:00 PM

From the LA Times: Congress moves closer to averting government shutdown with Senate vote

With Wednesday's funding deadline looming, the Senate overwhelmingly advanced the government funding bill by a 77-19 vote. More than half the Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats to break the filibuster by conservative Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas ...

Final passage in the Senate is likely to come Tuesday. The House is expected to vote Wednesday.
If it doesn't pass the House by Wednesday night, the Government will shutdown.  It seems likely this will pass.

However, there is growing concern about a shutdown later this year - that might include Congress threatening (once again) to not pay the bills.

From Dara Lind at Vox: The next government shutdown fight, explained
The next funding bill is currently working its way through the Senate, and will come to the House sometime Wednesday. Congress was supposed to fund the government for the entire 2016 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. But instead, the Senate bill only funds the government through December 11.
The so-called "debt ceiling" will probably be reached in November, so both of these issues will be tied together (the "debt ceiling" is misleading - it sounds fiscally responsible, but it is actually about paying the bills - and not paying the bills would be irresponsible).

John Schoen at CNBC discusses this: How the government shutdown may be averted, for now
The debt issued by the Treasury is used to pay for spending that Congress has already authorized for goods and services the government has already provided. It would be like trying to control your household spending by not paying a credit card charge for a meal you've already eaten.

Freezing the debt ceiling does nothing to better manage future spending or make government do more with less money.

If anything, forcing the Treasury to default on its debt would only increase government spending because it would raise future borrowing costs. Just as a deadbeat consumer who doesn't pay legitimate credit card charges has to pay higher interest rates, investors in U.S. Treasurys would demand higher returns to offset the risk of Congress pulling this stunt again.
Right now it looks like there won't be a shutdown this week.