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Although members of Congress reached a deal Monday to avoid this weekend's pending government shutdown, that doesn't signal an end to budget and deficit wrangling. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ-Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks with WAMU Morning Edition Host Matt McCleskey about where lawmakers go from here.
Another continuing resolution
Although both the House and Senate passed a super short-term deal that continues federal funding until next week, the House will have to pass a six-week budget bill that continues funding until Nov. 18 when members return from recess.
It does set Congress up for another possible government shutdown threat in November, but most members of Congress are not willing to let that happen, Hawkings says. "I don't think either side wanted to shut down the government," he says. "They want to kick the budgetary can down the road as soon as possible."
But even in November, another continuing resolution is likely, rather than a full year funding bill, says Hawkings. "This threat ultimately came down to $1 billion, or $1.5 billion," he says. "There's very little reason to believe they can figure out how to spend $1 trillion, which is the budget total for the new year, in the next six weeks."
Call for Clarence Thomas investigation
This week also brought a call from some House Democrats for an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Those lawmakers claim that Thomas did not fill out his financial disclosure forms properly.
"They say he they wrongly hid from his disclosure forms that his wife is a conservative activist, and that she made money as a conservative activist," Hawkings says. "They're trying to raise public attention for that more than anything else."
Hawkings says that at this point, almost exactly 20 years to the day after the hearings investigating Thomas's alleged misconduct with Anita Hill, this could be an effort by Democrats to keep Thomas's post on the court on the radar.