CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday remained confident a government shutdown could be avoided.
Even without a continuing resolution, Grassley said, much of the federal government could continue to function if President Barack Obama chooses to exercise his authority.
“We have enough revenue coming in through taxes to finance 84 percent of government,” he told reporters. “He can prioritize. He has the authority to do it.”
In a government shutdown, Grassley said, essential services and mandatory spending programs would continue to function.
Early Wednesday afternoon, the Senate took a step toward continuing funding for the federal government, voting unanimously on a motion to proceed to a vote on the continuing resolution. The Senate is schedule to have up to 30 hours of debate on the continuing resolution.
If the Senate approved the resolution, it will go back to the House without the provision to strip funding for Obamacare. That puts the outcome in the House in doubt.
Although he doesn’t foresee a shutdown, Grassley declined to offer advice to the House of Representatives, where he started his congressional career. He and other members of the Senate Republican Caucus have agreed they “ought to not to be making very many statements publicly telling the House of Representatives what to do because it tends to make the leadership job over there more difficult.”
Despite Grassley’s confidence that the federal government will keep its doors open, the outlook from the office of U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, seemed less optimistic Wednesday. His chief of staff, John Davis, warned in a memo that if Congress fails to pass a funding resolution by Sept. 30, “the federal government must shut down.”
If that happens, Davis said, about 1,000 full-time members of the Iowa National Guard would be furloughed. Depending on the length of the shutdown, training for about 7,500 guardsmen and women could be cancelled.
Davis also warned that new Social Security recipients might not receive their payments, veterans’ benefits and services likely would be curtailed or unavailable, Small Business Administration loans could be denied or delayed and a variety of economic development programs would be idled.