Congressional leaders from both political parties are working with the Biden Administration to avoid a federal government shutdown, but many obstacles remain and it looks increasingly likely that a shutdown will happen as the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2023.

In the unfortunate event of a government shutdown, it is anticipated to be of considerable duration as there is no obvious plan for reopening the government in the event of a shutdown. Several factors contribute to this, including the slim margins held by both political parties in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

To avert a government shutdown, Congress has two primary options: passing individual appropriations bills or enacting a continuing resolution (CR). To prevent a shutdown, all 12 appropriations bills must be passed by both chambers and signed by the President before September 30, 2023. Congress can achieve this either by approving each bill individually or by grouping them into omnibus or minibus packages.

During a government shutdown, mandatory spending continues, but discretionary spending ceases. When the government reopens, federal employees and agencies receive full compensation, resulting in no net change in federal spending. However, what often gets overlooked are the impacts on the private sector.

Many individuals and businesses rely on the daily operations of the government, including services like processing passports and permits, conducting clinical trials and engaging with contractors. A thriving economy is contingent on a government that can fulfill its crucial functions.

A government shutdown can disrupt essential services such as Social Security and Medicare, leading to potential inconveniences for beneficiaries. National parks may close, affecting visitors and local economies reliant on tourism. Shutdowns strain air travel with unpaid air traffic controllers and TSA agents, resulting in longer lines and airport delays. These are just a few of the ways a government shutdown can impede the nation’s already fragile economy.

The Salt Lake Chamber is actively engaging with Utah’s congressional delegation urging them to collaborate with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep the government functioning and our economy growing. We believe reasonable members of Congress can come together to find a path that will accomplish the two imperatives of constraining out-of-control government spending and preventing a government shutdown. Our national economy and continued prosperity depend on it!

We will continue to keep you updated on this quick-moving, ever-changing landscape.

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