Congress Still Has No Plan To Avoid Looming Government Shutdown

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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With the fiscal year quickly coming to a close, Congress remains in limbo on its plan to avoid the looming threat of a government shutdown.

Lawmakers have just 11 days to pass a budget before the federal government runs out of funds, which could lead to another shut down scenario.

While the House passed a bill Friday that would freeze funding for the organization for a year — a move designed to placate members who refuse to vote for any legislation benefiting the group — it is unlikely to pass the Senate, not to mention that the Obama Administration has threatened to veto any measure that blocks funding.

Planned Parenthood has come under fire after a series of videos showed Planned Parenthood executives discussing harvesting and distribution of fetal organs from abortions.

The Senate is set to vote on a continuing resolution that would temporarily fund the government while eliminating funds for the women’s health organization, but Republican leaders are not optimistic about the outlook.

House leadership is working feverishly to find a solution to avoid a shutdown, but has not decided whether a continuing resolution is the best option.

“As the most pro-life speaker in history, Speaker [John] Boehner is working to hold abortion providers accountable for their horrific practices and advance the pro-life cause,” said Boehner Spokeswoman Emily Schillinger. “The leaders have not made any decisions on the CR yet, and no options have been ruled in or out.  They will make decisions in the coming days.”

According to a CNN/ORC poll, 71 percent of Americans believe keeping the government open is more important than defunding Planed Parenthood.

Congress faced a similar situation in 2013, when it chose to shut down the government over a continuing resolution that attached funding for Obamacare to the legislation.

Several members who voted against the CR said they regretted their decision shortly after.

Rep. Mark Meadows said in a 2014 interview with the Citizen-Times that he would have gone with a different strategy to address the situation.

A source from Meadows’ office said the congressman is weighing his options while working with a handful of moderate Republicans on different strategies to avert closing down the government while staying committed to conservative principles.

One option under consideration is budget reconciliation, a rare measure that cannot be filibustered by the upper chamber. Reconciliation can only be used once a year and allows a bill to be passed on to the executive branch with just a majority vote in the House and Senate.

Nearly 80 Democrats sent a letter to the House speaker calling for Congress to stay in session until it hammers out a plan to prevent the government form closing.

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