WYSO

Ohio Lawmakers Weigh In As Another Government Shutdown Draws Nigh

Sep 23, 2015

Another government shutdown is looking increasingly possible as the deadline to pass a federal budget looms. Many Ohio lawmakers say they don’t want a shutdown—but don’t agree on the fine print, either.

The 2013 government shutdown was part of a game of chicken between House Republicans and the president over de-funding Obamacare. In this new game of chicken, some Senate and House Republicans are pushing for a fight over Planned Parenthood funding. Dayton’s Republican congressman, Mike Turner, says he doesn’t want the budget fight linked to that.

“I have voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood,” he said in a press conference Tuesday, “but I do not think that we should shut the government down because the president is unwilling to sign the bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”

Senate Republicans are pushing for a continuing resolution funding the government through mid-December. But the version they’ve proposed, likely to go to the floor Thursday, would de-fund Planned Parenthood, and Democrats are likely to block it, forcing Republicans back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is warning a shutdown could cut off food stamp funding.

“If the shutdown happens on October 1, 45 million Americans, 1.7 million Ohioans might lost access to food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” Brown said in a conference call with reporters.

While SNAP will still operate, those expecting a re-up in SNAP funds could be frozen out until a budget is passed. During the last government shutdown, leftover recovery act funds were used to cover the difference.

 

“We have seven days left to figure out how to fund the government,” said Sen. Brown. “It’s very simple how we could do it.”

He says Republicans should go ahead and pass a short-term spending bill that’s clean, buying everyone more time to fight out the rest. Democrats and Republicans are also at odds over the military budget, which Republicans want to increase.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.