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Clock ticks toward possible government shutdown, yet again

With the September 30 deadline looming, lawmakers are hopeful a temporary funding deal can be struck to keep the government open.

WASHINGTON — The clock is ticking, once again, towards a possible government shutdown.

The current fiscal year ends September 30. Lawmakers are now scrambling to approve a continuing resolution to keep the government open.

Even with the budgetary trick to temporarily keep the government operating, questions remain about the stop-gap spending measure's impact on Navy ship repair contracts.

Continuing resolutions mean that all federal spending is frozen at the prior year's levels, which is a big problem for the military and defense contractors.

The Defense Department has started 12 of the last 13 years operating under a continuing resolution.

Defense officials have stated publicly that delays in knowing when and how much funding will ultimately be available for the fiscal year hampers the military services' ability to accomplish key mission requirements.

Either way, it's not good, according to the House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia, 2nd District).

"The key is, we have to keep the military funded," she said. "CRs are bad. It actually costs us time in getting work done, starting new contracts for ship repair. We see that a lot in this region. And I'm not happy about a CR. But the alternative of a shutdown is disastrous. We're doing everything we can to make sure that does not happen."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said going through this exercise year after year Is "insane."

He added: "To say that I'm frustrated, to say that this process of countdowns to shutdowns is abusive, is the understatement of the day."

The last government shutdown lasted 35 days -- from December 2018 to January 2019.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, it cost the national economy about $11 billion in lost output.

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