The potential government shutdown​, explained

Published on December 8, 2020

Another government shutdown is looking increasingly likely. Current funding expires on December 11th. The clock is ticking to prevent a shutdown.

Congress already postponed a key deadline until after the election, which is now on Friday. Over the last few months, lawmakers have unsuccessfully been negotiating how to fund the government in 2021. Similar to the stimulus package, Republicans and Democrats have yet to resolve their differences in spending. 

Another solution to delay a shutdown is to postpone the deadline, again. Lawmakers could at least delay by a week. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed he’d vote on a one-week extension to “keep government open while negotiations continue.” There are other options to avoid an immediate shutdown, including a “continuing resolution,” in which Congress agrees to fund certain parts of governments and delay the tougher decisions. If the House passes a short-term funding extension, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the bill to the Senate floor.

However, it remains likely another government shutdown will happen. Three shutdowns have happened during Trump’s presidency, including the longest shutdown in modern history. The last shutdown lasted 35 days and happened over a dispute regarding the border wall.

If another government shutdown happens, thousands of government workers will get furloughed or work without pay during the holidays. The shutdown will impact government health agencies, national parks, and even air travel. Now, the stimulus package could help save us from another government shutdown. Leaders among the Democrats and Republicans are hoping the latest round of stimulus can be a part of the spending bill, killing two birds with one stone. It needs to happen this week, though, for the stimulus and the spending bill to happen. 

Disagreements over the spending bill remain the same as the past few years, including immigration. This year, there’s also disagreements over police reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confident about an agreement, though. “We have the time to do it,” she said. “We are going to keep government open. We’ll take the time we need, and we must get it done, and we must get it done before we leave. We cannot leave without it.” 

Complicating matters for the next spending bill are the threats from President Trump. The House is voting today on the annual defense policy, which would change the names of bases named after Confederate leaders. Trump is against it. On top of that, Trump opposes the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act for protecting social media platforms. 

Trump wants it to include measures eliminating protections for social media platforms. “If the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk,” Trump tweeted late on Tuesday. Trump is talking about 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech companies from liability involving user content. Over the last few years, Trump and Republican lawmakers have been on the offensive against social media platforms moderation process and disclaimers for false information. 

Trump is strongly against TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter. According to The Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Twitter, and all the big names, “Repealing Section 230 is itself a threat to national security. The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful and dangerous content, including terrorist content and misinformation.” Section 230 is the sticking point for Trump, though. If he vetoes that spending bill, pay raises for troops won’t happen, for example.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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