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Chronic Budget Battle Creates Unease over Shutdown Potential

Despite repeated assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that there will be no government shutdown this year, the list of Democratic “show stoppers” continues to grow.  In addition to opposition to spending cuts or program deletions, Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), has provided a list of what he is calling Democratic “deal-breakers” that must be avoided if Republicans want Democrats to support an FY 16 budget or even a continuing resolution for the new fiscal year that begins October 1.  The list includes Immigration riders, in the form of penalties levied on so-called “sanctuary cities”; a repeal of the health care law; cuts in Social Security; cuts in programs such as Head Start and Pell Grants; moves toward privatizing Medicare; attacks on the Dodd-Frank financial law; and rolling back administration initiatives on climate change.  Despite both Chambers having finished much of the work on funding for the 12 appropriations bills, the tensions between the two parties in how to reconcile those funding decisions with party priority issues remains unresolved.