A Wisconsin Congressman remains optimistic that a federal budget deal can be reached before there’s another threat of a government shutdown. Still, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) expects it will be mid-January before an agreement comes up for a vote in Congress.
Lawmakers working on a federal budget deal return to Washington next week, just a few days before a deadline to reach an agreement. Pocan says it is encouraging that members of a conference committee continue holding talks and working toward a compromise, but he believes nothing will be decided by December 13th. The Madison Democrat says “it seems that Congress can only act when there literally is a gun to their head, and that’s kind of where we’ve been at too often.”
AUDIO: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (:12)
Federal lawmakers are only expected to be in Washington for a few days later this month, before heading home for the holiday recess. They will return in early January, just days before an agreement reached earlier this year to continue funding the federal government is set to run out on January 15. Failing to pass a new federal budget, or at least another continuing resolution, would likely result in another government shutdown.
Pocan says he hopes Congress will not take the path of passing a continuing resolution to keep funding the government. He says “the way to do it is to actually pass a budget and make decisions about what you want to stop funding, where you have waste, and where you want to start investing more money. If you don’t have a budget, you’re just kind of continuing the same-old same-old, without putting any thought into the process.”
Pocan says he does not expect a big deal to come out of the budget talks, but he believes they will at least result in something that will help the nation avoid another government shutdown.