Get Ready: Experts Say a Government Shutdown is Likely

President Barack Obama's motorcade heads toward Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 12, 2015, for a meeting with House Democrats. The president made an 11th-hour appeal to dubious Democrats on Friday in a tense run-up to a House showdown on legislation to strengthen his hand in global trade talks (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(The Washington Post) – In America, you can’t legally bet on political outcomes (at least not yet). But if you could, we’d advise you to put some money on the government shutting down on Oct. 1.

As Congress gets back to work this week, it’s facing a nearly unprecedented number of deadlines and political dramas. The government needs to be funded by Sept. 30, but Congress is way behind in passing the series of spending bills necessary to pass a full budget. Instead, lawmakers will probably try to pass a short-term budget extension that basically keeps spending levels the same as last year and keeps the government open.

But even that’s going to be tough. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are using the budget process to push their ideological agendas on everything from abortion to military spending to international nuclear deals. And there’s a presidential campaign going on, complicating the decisions and actions of the five senators running for the White House. (And in the Senate, sometimes it only takes one.)

Here are four congressional budget analysts’ predictions on how likely it is that the government will shut down. We’ll start with the most conservative estimate — which is still “well over 50 percent.”


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