Political leaders are continuing to raise proposals for ending the partial government shutdown but as has been the pattern for more than a month, they mostly are talking past each other.
The House this week is set to vote on yet another approach, bringing to a vote a package of six of the seven spending bills needed to restore funding through September 30 to agencies whose spending authority lapsed December 22. That will be a slightly revised version of the package the House passed three weeks ago, which was followed by passage of the bills separately, and then by passage of only temporary funding extensions.
The other bill, covering DHS, has been kept separate because it is the vehicle for the underlying dispute, over funding for a southern border wall. The House strategy has been to push to reopen other shuttered agencies, where there is no such dispute.
However, all of the initiatives by the Democratic-led House have stalled in the Senate as the Republican leadership there has refused to bring to a vote any bill that President Trump wouldn’t sign.
The administration meanwhile has made its first substantive proposal since the partial shutdown began, by adding some protections for undocumented immigrants to its request for wall funds. In a reversal of the pattern, Senate leaders plan to bring a bill based on that proposal to a vote this week even though House leaders already have said it would not pass there.
Meanwhile, numerous bills have been offered, although have not advanced, to soften the impact of the continued shutdown. These include bills to make a special appropriation to begin immediately paying salaries to affected employees still on the job, and to allow all employees who have been in unpaid status to take withdrawals from the TSP and other retirement savings without penalty, with the option of paying it back later.
More on furlough rules for federal employees at ask.FEDweek.com