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A government shut down 'pretty much a sure thing': Expert

With just three days until the deadline, concerns over a government shutdown are growing. Maya MacGuineas, President of Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget states that a shutdown is almost inevitable — “pretty much a sure thing.” MacGuineas notes that, long term, the “big, outstanding issues” with determining how to fund the government must be addressed.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video Transcript


SEANA SMITH: The clock is ticking for Congress to reach a deal before it's set to run out of money. And with just three days until the deadline, pressure is mounting on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after the Senate voted to advance a bipartisan stopgap bill in a bid to avert a shutdown. Now, the legislation would extend funding to 2023 levels through mid-November and also provide billions for Ukraine and disaster relief.

Here to tell us more we want to bring in Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Maya, it's good to see you here. So let's start just where things stand right now down in DC. We have this stopgap bill here from the Senate. Of course, the pressure mounting on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Is there any way you think that we're going to be able to avoid a government shutdown?

MAYA MACGUINEAS: Well, I do think it's possible, but I'm probably the most optimistic person there is when it's putting odds on this. In fact, we have the very, very, very unscientific poll of budget experts, and they think the chances of a shutdown are about 88%, so pretty much a sure thing. I am more optimistic than that, and I actually thought last night was good news that the Speaker was able to move forward on some of these things. There seemed to be a little bit of give.

But the bottom line is, the clock is ticking. There's very little time to get this done. And the variety of parties-- it's not just two parties who are thinking about this, but the variety of groups of interests are very far apart in terms of how much they're willing to give. So it is more likely we will have a shutdown than not. Though, again, I think we could find a way to eke our way out of this.

But even if we don't have a shutdown now, the question is, how will we resolve the big outstanding issues of how you fund the government? There are very different senses of what level the government should be funded at. And if we get a bridge of a couple of weeks or a couple of months, those outstanding tensions will still remain, so we might be revisiting this again-- this again in the future even if we avoid it. Now