19 Dec 2018
Partial U.S. Government Shutdown Possible but Imports Not Expected to Be Affected
As previously reported, the budget authorisation process for the U.S. federal government is divided into 12 appropriations bills, of which only five – covering the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education and Veterans Affairs – have been passed for the fiscal year that began on 1 October. Funding for all other agencies has been covered by short-term continuing resolutions but the latest CR is now set to expire on 21 December at midnight.
President Trump has continued to battle with Congress on budgetary matters, including his insistence on appropriation of US$5 billion for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. With the Christmas holiday fast approaching Congress is set to go out of session after 21 December, leaving the current Republican-led body with only a few days to complete its legislative work. However, the president continues to insist that he would rather see a shutdown than a compromise on border security funding.
A lack of funding could affect many agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, Treasury and Transportation. In particular, a lack of funding for the Department of Homeland Security would directly affect U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS component agency. However, in prior government shutdowns CBP’s essential border inspection functions were maintained while less time-critical elements – such as work on new computer functionality or the issuance of binding rulings by the Office of Regulations and Rulings – were not carried out until the shutdown ended.