If Congress doesn’t reach a deal on a government spending bill by midnight on December 21, one-quarter of the federal government will shut down. At issue is $5 billion in funding for a border wall that President Trump demanded and Democrats insisted was not forthcoming. Recent reports indicate that the president may back down, but no deal has yet been reached.
Congress has been working to pass legislation funding the federal government for months. In late September, they passed a bill for $854 billion to fund many of the biggest federal government agencies. But with the entire discretionary federal budget (the portion of the budget that’s at stake) in the range of $1.2 trillion, more than $300 billion in spending decisions were postponed with temporary funding bills, the most recent of which ends at midnight on Friday.
The result may be a government shutdown that harms federal employees and the economy during the holidays over an amount of money that, while small in federal government terms, would have a big impact on immigrants and for countless other government programs that do a lot with small budgets.