Podcast: Congress Avoids US Government Shutdown (For Now)

US Capitol at dusk ahead of planned votes on tax reform, Washington DC, December 18, 2017 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Congress has again avoided a US Government shutdown over the failure of the Trump Administration to present its first budget for approval.

Legislators agreed a fourth extension with supplemental funding, just before a Friday deadline.

I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Daily about the latest deferral of a reckoning over the budget, now further complicated by the passage of a $1.5 trillion tax change which is projected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the Federal Government’s debt.

The can has been kicked down the road a bit. Democrats have not shut down the Government and have agreed with Republicans that there will be funding for the Government into the New Year.

At that point there will be all the issues that have to be resolved — for example, the status of immigrants, known as the “Dreamers”, who have been threatened with deportation — and, of course, the big question is that the Trump Administration has at some point got to pass a budget which probably has huge cuts to services.

So can the GOP come up with a resolution in which they can avoid paying a price in the 2018 mid-term elections? And what can the Democrats do to try and take the political lead — and a majority in Congress — from any fallout?

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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