US Legislators Reportedly Close to Deal to Prevent Government Shutdown
| Posted: 1 August 2012
By Alexander Gaffney
Numerous reports indicate US legislators are close to a deal that would temporarily avert threats of a government-wide shutdown, likely sparing federal agencies the anxiety and frustration of conducting emergency shutdown analyses and impact statements—or furloughing staff.
The agreement, reportedly reached between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and other party leaders on both sides of the political aisle would involve a short-term funding resolution to get the government through the first half of the coming year, avoiding the issue until after the November 2012 election season.
The proposed legislation would see government funding continue relatively similar to the 2011 budget baseline already signed into law, avoiding for another six months the prospects of a government shutdown.
During 2011, officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) were forced to draw up detailed plans regarding the potential for a shutdown. A Med Page Today article from April 2011 notes some agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), would have been forced to furlough nearly their entire staff.
Legislators are still left to contend with an automatic sequester due to come into effect on 1 January 2013. All agencies, including FDA, would be subject to an across-the-board 7.8% cut in their appropriations. While this would affect FDA less than other agencies, many of whom do not get a significant amount of funding through industry user fees, the cuts still have the potential to have an outsized impact on the agency.
Washington Post - Congressional leaders near budget deal to keep government running
Politico - Government funding deal reached