Congress Is Facing A Government Shutdown By Christmas. Would That Be Good For Texans?

How would a Government shutdown affect Texas?

The top issues in Texas, like DACA and hurricane relief, are on the table this week.

Republicans passed a once in a generation tax overhaul on Wednesday. That was dramatic, but here's where it could get really messy: in the run up to Christmas, we could see a government shutdown if both chambers of Congress can't get it together on a bill to extend federal funding. As of this moment, it's not just Republicans and Democrats who don't see eye to eye – it's the House and Senate, too.

Congress could pass a bare-bones stopgap measure to get through the holidays, but everyone sees the potential for leveraging their own priorities as the weekend approaches. Lawmakers from Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and California are all vying for disaster relief, and Democrats are pushing for a deal on DACA, the Obama-era program for immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, a program President Trump cancelled earlier this year.

Chris Cobler, editor of the Victoria Advocate, says what his readers want most is more hurricane relief funding. "They would also want more accountability for the funding, because there are a lot of questions about where that money is going and whether it's getting to the people who need the help," he says.

Still, it's unlikely a government shutdown would benefit the area, Cobler says, because the real problem is bureaucratic red tape, which certainly won't be resolved by Christmas.

Dianna Hunt, metro editor for the Houston Chronicle, says Houston lawmakers feel strongly that some of the other issues like DACA, disaster aid, and the Affordable Care Act funding need to be dealt with.

"Whether it's tangled up with the temporary budget extension, I think they would be pleased just to see some action," Hunt says.

Carlos Sanchez, editor of the McAllen Monitor, says readers in the Rio Grande Valley would delight in forcing members of Congress to work through Christmas – but that's unlikely to happen.

"I think a stopgap measure is the order of the day," he says, "simply because there's too many complex issues that need to be worked out, and to work it out in a matter of days, I think would be problematic."

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Jen Rice

Jen Rice


Jen Rice is the City Hall reporter at Houston Public Media, where she covers topics like Houston City Council and housing. Jen was born and raised in Houston's 100-year floodplain. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University and has a master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs...

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