The 35-day government shutdown that ended January 25 cost the United States about $11 billion. It also caused more than a month of unnecessary stress and financial hardship for federal employees and others who depend on the government. 

If you run a business, it hurt you too -- assuming you benefit from a robust economy, or from workers getting paid and needy people getting government benefits that they spend with you, or from Americans actually receiving the roughly $100 billion in tax refunds they're owed.

Fortunately, it all came to an end. Sort of.

Because you might recall that shutdown ended only with a temporary reprieve, and a February 15 deadline for Congress and the president to agree to a new funding deal.

That's this coming Friday.

Wait, Washington learned its lesson, right? They wouldn't let this happen again so soon, would they?

Oh, you. I love you for your naive optimism.

Just days ago, both sides seemed optimistic. President Trump would take just a tiny portion of the money he wants for a border wall with Mexico. Then, he'd declare a national emergency for the rest of the money.

The whole border wall thing would play out in the courts, and the government could stay open.

But now, some members of Congress say there's a brand new "impasse," (their word) which adds up the idea that "odds of a [new] government shutdown have increased markedly in the past 24 hours," according to The Washington Post.

This time it has to do with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and how many suspected illegal aliens ICE can detail in roundups away from the border. 

Democrats want a smaller cap, which would be around the number ICE detained every year during the Obama administration. Republicans want a bigger number. It's a disagreement for sure, but would either side really be willing to shut down the government again over this? 

We'll know very soon. Axios, which has a closer eye on this than most of us do, put it this way:

"What's next? Very unclear. If the talks are dead, Trump is so dug in he has only two options: shut down the government again or use his emergency powers to get the money ... Both options are horrible."

While we wait, if you run a business, you officially have permission to throw a bit of a fit and demand more. 

I'm not taking partisan sides here. You're an adult, and you and can draw whatever conclusion you want about who is to blame. But, just saying: the main telephone number for Congress is (202) 224-3121, and the White House is (202) 456-1111.

Other reads for Monday:

Published on: Feb 10, 2019
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