(LIN) — The sequester has arrived, and we're all still here. We still have a Navy, we can still buy chicken from the grocery store and no airports have been shut down.
Although life as we know it still exists after the sequester, we now have another reason to look to Washington and expect Congress to play nice.
Mark your calendars for the next big deadline: the March 27 government shutdown.
All eyes are back on Capitol Hill, where Congress has to find a way to work together again to come up with a measure to avert the shutdown.
If no legislation is passed before this date, the federal government will essentially run out of money, and all non-essential services of the government would shut down.
On March 6, the GOP-controlled House approved a bill that would prevent a government shutdown on March 27 with a 267-151 vote. The Senate is likely to expand this bill to include more stopgap measures, but House Speaker John Boehner cautioned the Senate this week about getting too carried away.
"If Senate Democrats try to load up this bill with extraneous provisions, partisan riders, budget gimmicks, we will be prepared to move a clean continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year," he said. "I would urge Democrat leaders in the Senate to not get greedy and get carried away and try to put forward a possibility of a government shutdown."
The full Senate bill won't be revealed fully until floor debate begins next week, and it's unsure at this time how long either one of these two bills would last at this time.
The House bill provides a bit of relief to the military, allowing the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department the option to allocate cuts in areas they see fit, rather than blatant, across-the-board cuts.
Senate Democrats have expressed that this bill could pass if the same flexibility in cuts could be applied to other departments.
However, the overarching $85 billion in sequester cuts will still be in place, cutting half from defense and half from domestic programs. The effects of these cuts are expected to be felt in April.
President Barack Obama has made concerted efforts this week to reach a solution. On Wednesday, he and congressional Republicans met over dinner to discuss possibilities, and on Thursday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., had lunch at the White House along with the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
"He is reaching out and talking to members about a variety of issues -- not just our fiscal challenges, but certainly the fiscal issues are among the issues he is talking about with lawmakers," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Even Boehner seems optimistic about the recent cross-party discussions.
"I think it's a sign, a hopeful sign, and I'm hopeful that something will come out of it," Boehner said.
From debt ceiling to fiscal cliff, sequester to shutdown, there have been many names for the fiscal crisis. We may still be able to catch a flight out of town – for now – but uncertainty still looms.
If Congress can't work together to find a solution, the fiscal crisis will continue for an unforeseeable future, no matter what you call it.
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