Shutdown, Other Threats Delayed but Not Resolved

President Trump has signed into law a measure drafted and enacted quickly to push back to December 8 several deadlines that had been set to arrive near the end of this month involving a potential partial government shutdown and other budgetary decisions of importance to federal employees.

The deal, primarily worked out between Trump and congressional Democrats, wrapped hurricane relief, a suspension of the federal debt ceiling and temporary funding for agencies into one measure. However, of the three main elements of the package, only hurricane relief was decided upon, with the debt ceiling and the end of agency spending authority only pushed forward.

The measure continues current program and funding levels until December 8, which becomes the new deadline for enacting regular appropriations or a catchall spending bill for the remainder of the new fiscal year, or another temporary extension. Congress has made only partial progress on the regular 12 spending bills, with the House having passed a measure tying together four of them and voting this week on a second measure containing the rest. However, the Senate has cleared just six of them only out of the committee stage.

The delay also continues to leave up in the air prospects for further early retirement and buyout offers. Some agencies had indicated that they expected to be making such offers in the late months of the year, based on assumptions that lowered budget levels the White House proposed would be in place or all but finalized. However, for the present at least that pressure has been relieved.