Another short-term extension of government funding authority already is being considered ahead of the next budgetary deadline, February 8, that threatens another partial government shutdown.

The funding measure that ended the three-day shutdown and that extended funding authority separated–at least temporarily–one of the major issues that had caused the deadlock, immigration, from the budget. However, a major budgetary issue remains–raising limits on spending set by an earlier budget agreement–with apparently little prospect of being resolved by the new deadline.

Rules on Government Furloughs [ ask.FEDweek.com ]

Without raising those limits, there is the prospect of “sequestration” similar to what occurred in 2013. That caused furloughs at many agencies, and unlike in shutdown furloughs, affected employees were not later paid for that time.

There is general consensus to increase the caps. However, Republicans generally want the defense side of the ledger to increase by more than the non-defense side while Democrats generally want equal increases. Also still unresolved is whether Congress will seek cuts elsewhere to offset those increases and if so, where. Federal employee organizations remain concerned that retirement and health insurance programs could be targeted.

Another temporary delay likely would again be short, possibly several weeks. That would be short enough to keep Congress focused on the budget but also not long enough to give federal employees a breather from what has become a nearly constant threat of shutdowns.