The 72-page continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown

Just yesterday all signs pointed to a federal shutdown. Several votes, two “magic minutes,” a cart full of pizzas, and one fire alarm later, though, and Congress has agreed on a 48-day extension to keep the government open, giving themselves a second chance to agree on a spending bill. As the drama continues, here’s what you need to know about the 72-page continuing resolution that’s helping avoid a government shutdown—for now: 

The continuing resolution keeps the government running and buys Congress another 48 days. 

November 17, 2023 is the new date to watch. The continuing resolution (CR), which passed with grudgingly bipartisan endorsement, funds the government for the next 48 days in hopes that, by then, Congress can make a longer-term deal—as they’re constitutionally mandated to do. While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy projected confidence during his press conference, both parties will have to come back to the table again and strike a bipartisan deal to avert a repeat risk of shutdown. Here are a few things this CR does for the next 48 days:

  • Extends federal funding at 2023 levels until November 17, 2023
  • Includes USD 16 billion in emergency disaster relief
  • Extends authorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Flood Insurance program

The 48-day timeline has risks. President Biden is scheduled to be in Asia at that time meeting with Chinese President Xi. If the US government is back in shutdown mode, Biden could be forced to postpone or cut short his trip. Furthermore, risking federal employees’ paychecks during holiday season is a risky gamble by a Congress with already low approval ratings.

The CR does not fund the Ukraine war effort.

What’s missing from the CR? Funding for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Congress remains split over funding the war effort in Ukraine. When the House passed their legislation that did not include funding for Ukraine, Senate Democrats promptly stripped that provision from their legislation in an effort to consolidate the two efforts and keep the government open. This has a few implications:

  • The White House wants the funding. Ukraine President Zelensky was on the Hill this week lobbying for support. President Biden has insisted they need support and has made it clear he wants funding for the effort, arguing that support for the war now protects America in the future. 
  • The House of Representatives could still approve funding in future legislation. It is unclear if Speaker McCarthy and the House would support or pull back funding, but we’ll know in 48 days.
  • The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders have agreed to advance comprehensive spending bills for the defense of Ukraine.

The speaker’s job is in jeopardy—still. 

Speaker McCarthy has been walking on a tightrope ever since he cinched the speakership at the start of this Congress. Hardliners in the Republican Party, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01), have strongly suggested that if the speaker relied on Democrat votes to pass legislation, they would force a vote to recall the speaker. The speaker’s response: “If someone wants to make a motion against me, bring it. There has to be an adult in the room. I’m going to govern with what’s best for the country.” A vote to recall the speaker could happen as early as next week and would throw everything into chaos.

Want to know more about how a federal shutdown could impact your industry or organization? Reach out to Jeremy S. Thompson at Edelman Global Advisory at