Policy

Congress Headed Down Road to Shutdown Nowhere, Top Senate GOP Appropriator Says

Alabama’s Richard Shelby says he thinks a shutdown is all but inevitable

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A partial government shutdown is all but inevitable, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday.

“It looks like we could be headed down the road to nowhere,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby said. “That’s what it looks like at the moment because we’ve got nine days to go.”

The Alabama Republican told reporters there are a lot of “thoughts” about how to keep the nine departments and assorted agencies that don’t yet have full-year spending bills open beyond Dec. 21, but said none of those have crystallized into a plan.

Shelby said the options being discussed include passing a temporary funding extension until the day after Christmas, passing a continuing resolution until Jan. 3 at 11:59 p.m. (just after the beginning of the next Congress), passing a stopgap spending bill until late January, or February, or possibly May. There are also discussions about advancing a continuing resolution that would last until the end of fiscal year 2019 on Sept. 30.

Watch: What’s a Continuing Resolution?

There are lots of possibilities, Shelby said, adding he still hopes a continuing resolution can be avoided.

“We’re at an impasse so something’s going to happen or we’re going to have to have a CR or a shutdown. I’d think we’d have a CR rather than a shutdown, I hope. But I’d rather work it all out and let y’all go home,” he said.

None of the options have been sent to the White House, he said.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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