What Happens If The Government Shuts Down?

Source: Stephanie Condon / CBS News

Congress is moving closer to passing a bill that to keep the government running, but it hasn’t crossed the finish line yet.

The Senate should pass a bill to keep the government open for a few months on Friday, after taking a series of procedural votes — including a vote to strip out language to defund Obamacare. At that point, it will go back to the House, where Republican leaders must decide whether to accept the legislation as it stands or amend it again. Whatever they decide, the Senate and House must come to an agreement on one bill before Tuesday, otherwise the federal government partially shuts down.

“I’ve made it clear now for months and month and months,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday. “We have no interest in seeing a government shutdown. But we’ve got to address the spending problems that we have in this town. And so there will be options available to us. There’s not going to be any speculation about what we’re going to do or not do until the Senate passes their bill.”

If Congress fails to send President Obama a bill before Tuesday, the outcome would impact the economy, though not catastrophically. There have been brief gaps in government funding before, as well as two government shutdowns in 1995-1996 that stemmed from partisan budget battles similar to today’s problems. The government shut down for five days in November 1995 when President Clinton and the GOP-led Congress were at odds over government spending, and it shut down again in December for 21 days. According to government estimates, those shutdowns cost taxpayers $1.4 billion.

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