Shutdown near-miss illustrates Washington dysfunction
The U.S. narrowly dodged its fourth partial government shutdown in a decade on Sunday, but the past week exposed the depths of political dysfunction in Washington and particularly within the splintered House Republican caucus.
A last-minute decision by Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to turn to Democrats to pass a short-term funding bill pushed the risk of shutdown to mid-November, meaning the federal government's more than 4 million workers can count on continued paychecks for now.
But the mere fact the government came within hours of shutting down - with former President Donald Trump cheering on the idea and just four months after the nation almost defaulted on its $31.4 trillion in debt - raises concerns about Congress' ability to function.
"Congress is not looking very good," said Sarah Binder, an expert on governance issues at the Brookings Institution think tank. "Arguably, the one thing it has to do every year is pass laws that fund the government, and their inability to do any of them this year is just a ringing indictment."