Earlier this week, CNN’s Jim Acosta coined the term Gridlock-nado (ala the SciFy movie Sharknado) to describe the budget mess. Just like the movie, it’s crazy-bad theatre.
The House Republicans are using this fall’s fiscal showdown to defund and delay Obamacare. They also announced plans to make a series of demands of the White House in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in mid-October. But also say they don’t want o shut the government down. Meanwhile, President Obama said that he will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling. “What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip.”
Here is what we know (pulled from an excerpt from NBC’s Chuck Todd), the House sent its bill to the Senate. The Senate will send back a “clean-ish” continuing resolution to the House that strips away the measure defunding the president’s health care law. Then the House will send something back to the Senate that has SOMETHING to do with the health care. But when does this ping pong happen? The question turns to timing, especially if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) mounts a filibuster in the Senate. After being challenged by House Republicans, Cruz and his allies might have no choice other than to wage some sort of filibuster — perhaps not by traditional means but using procedural tricks. But such a delay could allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to jam House Speaker John Boehner. Chuck Schumer, in an interview to air on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” this morning, says any “jamming” of Boehner would be on Cruz and his delay tactics. Schumer also says there are behind-the-scenes negotiations taking place between House GOP leaders and Senate Dem leaders, so that once the Cruz show is over, they can act before midnight Sept. 30. Schumer seemed optimistic that a shutdown will be averted for now, but he also acknowledged the next test will be on debt ceiling.
It certainly does seem to be playing out like a television drama, except that this has real impacts on business travel. The White House Office of Management and Budget is asking federal agencies to prepare for the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the month. In a memo to department heads, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell says “prudent management” requires agencies to be ready for a lapse in funding after Sept. 30, when the current government funding measure expires.
Taking notice, TMC’s have begun to issue warnings of Flight delays caused by air-traffic controller furloughs as the Federal Aviation Administration considers sending workers home without pay during the next fiscal year amid a funding shortfall. FAA officials have told aviation industry officials and lawmakers that a new round of furloughs will be needed to close a budget gap of as much as $700 million in the fiscal year starting 1 October. The furloughs raise the prospect of a repeat of the flight delays caused in April by traffic-control staffing shortages at U.S. airports. Read the full story at Bloomberg.
GBTA will continue to monitor and keep you posted on these topics.