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Partial Government Shutdown Looms

As the Dec. 21, 2018 deadline looms for when funding for the EPA, FDA, State and Homeland Security departments and other federal agencies will run out, Congress and President Trump have still not come to an agreement on finalization of 2019 spending bills. The sticking point on the negotiations remains the level of border wall funding that the President is seeking. If Congress and the administration fail to agree on the border wall funding and spending bills by the deadline of Dec. 21, there will be a partial government shutdown.

In the case of a shutdown, the NIH, CDC and most other health agencies would be spared extensive disruption because the health spending bill was enacted in late October 2018, granting those agencies their FY2019 budgets. Unfortunately, however, a shutdown would close the EPA, FDA and other agencies, with staff placed on furlough.

A compromise where Congress and the President would enact all but the Homeland Security bill, which would prevent the EPA, FDA and State Departments from having to furlough staff, has been proposed, but the President has so far rejected this proposal. Congress is currently scheduled to return on Dec. 19, a mere two days before the deadline for a partial government shutdown, so the prospect is looking more likely at this stage.

Last Reviewed: December 17, 2018