Is another possible federal government shutdown looming?

Mar 5, 2018

The spending deal passed on Capitol Hill last month, which was implemented hours after a previous federal spending deal expired, is set to expire on March 23. Senator Minority Leader Charles Schumer has stated the deal the reached with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a good one for the middle class. But a local congressman is concerned about the government's increased spending and increasing debt.

Schumer, during a recent appearance in the Buffalo area, spoke of his budget agreement with McConnell, which was implemented on Feb. 9.

"Senator McConnell and I came up with a good budget for the first time that helps the middle class and will help Western New York," he said. "More money to fight opioid addiction. More money for our veterans facilities. Money for rural broadband, where many of our rural areas, even on the outside parts of Erie County, don't get broadband. They will now be able to get it."

Schumer said the deal also provides money for water and sewer projects. 

The brief partial federal government shutdown that occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 9 came as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul held up the vote, complaining on the floor about rising caps on federal spending. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 raises spending caps $300 billion higher over the next two years.

Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the Southern Tier in Western New York, also expressed concerns in a recent conference call about rising national debt. He says the government is only adding to its $21 trillion debt and warned the crisis would only worsen.

He stated during that conference call that the interest alone on that federal debt is $269 billion.

"That's a lot of taxpayer dollars. That's a lot of programs that are going to feel pressure because there will not be the resources there to fund them, to defend them and to make those investments to see that they continue to innovate, grow and deliver services," Reed said. 

Schumer, when asked during his local appearance if he was concerned about another possible stalemate, didn't seem worried.

"It's a good budget and I don't think we'll have any problems," he replied.