SPEAKER’S SURPRISE RESIGNATION LIKELY PUTS OFF SHUT DOWN, FOR NOW
The surprise announcement by Speaker of the House John Boehner that he will resign at the end of October may make a deal on passing a Continuing Resolution before Wednesday night more likely. Boehner may now be freer to work with moderate House Republicans and Democrats to get enough votes to keep the government operating, most likely until early December. By that time, however, there will be a new Speaker and an emboldened wing of Congressional conservatives. This group could hold up a future funding measure by tying it to a vote to increase the federal debt ceiling, something that will be required at about this time in order to prevent the US from defaulting on its loan obligations. As such, while FY’16 may start on time, the future of the fiscal year remains far from certain.
Whether or not a bold move could be taken before the end of October to pass an omnibus spending bill for the whole year is uncertain. If not, a new CR or other appropriations mechanism would be needed when the initial CR runs out. If that indeed does happen in December, a deal could be harder to come by. Strike while the iron is hot.