Congress continues to work on a temporary budget measure to continue funding agencies beyond the September 30 end of the fiscal year in the absence of regular spending bills but movement has been slow. The Senate has taken up a measure (HR-5325) generally extending current spending levels through December 9, when Congress will have returned from an upcoming recess that will last through the elections. A Senate vote likely won’t occur earlier than Friday, passing the issue to the House to handle just ahead of the deadline. While there’s still a general expectation that there will not be a partial government shutdown of the sort that occurred in 2013, the possibility remains until a funding measure is enacted. Several political issues have hung up action in the Senate several times already, and those issues could play an even greater role in the House. If no resolution is reached within a few days of the deadline, OMB once again likely would tell agencies to bring out their shutdown contingency plans and begin preparations. Under those plans, about a third of federal employees would be furloughed while the remainder would stay on the job during the funding lapse. Both groups would be unpaid, although those who continue working would be guaranteed to be paid later. Those furloughed in past partial shutdowns always have been paid later, as well—however, that would have to be authorized anew by Congress.
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