Government Shutdown 101: A Slowdown, Not a Shutdown

A government “shutdown” occurs when an existing budget expires and Congress and the President cannot agree on a level of day-to-day government spending going forward. As Congress lacks the legal authority to spend, all non-emergency federal government activities cease until Congress passes and the President signs new spending legislation into law. Currently, Congress is debating whether or not it will cut federal spending by less than 2% ($61 billion out of $3.8 trillion). Even with this cut, this year’s spending will still be higher than last year’s because of increases in entitlement costs. Federal spending is out of control, and soaring federal debt poses an immediate threat to the nation’s economic future. The House has already acted. The ball is now clearly in the Senate’s court. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must now act to cut spending substantially, move the process forward, and avoid a shutdown.

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