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Budget Timetable Gives House Little Time to Stave Off Government Shutdown

With rumors circulating of a possible federal government shutdown at the end of September if there is no federal budget in place, even members of Congress have admitted that there is no clear roadmap for adopting the next federal spending plan.

August is largely taken up by a roughly five-week House recess, leaving only September to hash out an agreement.

“September is going to be a very difficult month,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said Friday.

“I mean obviously all of this is coming into play right away, all the fiscal issues and deadlines are going to make it extremely difficult to get everything done in a piece-by-piece basis,” he added.

The House has passed four of the 12 spending bills that make up the budget, but members have not reached an agreement on the overall budget resolution that determines how much the government will spend in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said that he has been promised by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that a vote on the resolution will come when the House returns from its recess.

But Charlie Dent, R-Pa., chairman of the Tuesday Group, said too much time is being wasted.

“We spend too much time, energy and capital here in getting people to vote for the first launch, for the takeoff, knowing damn well a lot of those same people won’t be there for the landing …They won’t be there for the real appropriations package, the real numbers. That’s the problem,” Dent said.

“I’ve seen this movie before … And we all know how this is going to end,” Dent said, implying that Democrats need to be part of the final deal.

Others said the GOP needs to decide what it wants before dealing with the Democrats.

“We are establishing our marker for what’s going to have to be a negotiation to get there,” Rep. Bradley Byrn, R-Ala, said.

However, even those involved said the process isn’t working the way is should.

“The best way to make this place work is to always get back to regular order, passing a budget, passing appropriations bills,” said Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio.

“It’s definitely time for a change of strategy and tactic by our leadership,” Meadows said. “We’ve got to figure out how to bring everybody together, conservatives, moderates and the in-between.”