Providing funding for the Federal Government has become a reliably contentious and problematic job in recent years. But this funding cycle has been further complicated by the debate over defunding the women’s healthcare organization Planned Parenthood. The strongly held views surrounding the defunding of the organization could conceivably lead to a full government shutdown.
The Senate voted on September 24 on passing a “clean” continuing resolution, one with very limited policy riders, with the exception of the provision defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill failed to win a majority of Senate votes, so the chamber will take up a second clean continuing resolution, without the provision, to fund the government through December 11. That would sync the next funding debate with the upcoming debt ceiling increase.
However, the House has not said yet whether it will take up the Senate legislation or how they intend to avoid a government shutdown. More than 20 conservative members have already publically committed themselves to a shutdown if necessary. The National Republican Campaign Committee, the political arm of the House Republicans, usually stays out of policy debates in Washington. But they took the unusual step of commissioning a poll earlier this month examining the potential ramifications of a government shutdown for House members and candidates in the upcoming election.
These polling results were presented to Members and chiefs of staff last week, and respondents were opposed to a shutdown over Planned Parenthood 64 percent to 30 percent in support. The numbers were even more dismal for lawmakers in competitive districts, particularly among women and the 18 to 34 year old demographic.
How House leaders and their rank and file move forward with the polling results remains to be seen. But a resolution must be reached by September 30 or the government will shut down on October 1.