Back in October 2013, the federal government curtailed most routine functions after partisan gridlock kept Congress from appropriating the necessary funds.
Through that first year of President Barack Obama’s second term, Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and Democrats held the White House and Senate.
This year, however, the GOP rules the White House and both houses of Congress.
With a single party holding all or most of the cards, it would seem very hard to imagine another impasse like the one three-and-a-half years ago.
The only doubt arises from the fact that new President Donald Trump and his staff have yet to negotiate any legislative deals — making the executive branch a wild card.
That is to say, nobody can guarantee how fiercely or gently the newcomers will press the Congressional caucuses to enact what Trump wants.
He has pushed his proposed border wall as a top priority for the administration as it closes in on its symbolic 100-day mark — and the deadline for a spending bill at week’s end.
The president also vowed to unveil a tax-cut plan.
How might these talks take shape?
There could be a compromise expenditure plan. Or lawmakers could extend funding for a week or so. Or maybe the Congress ends up in an unlikely rebellion and government operations grind to another close.
There are many balls to juggle. Some lawmakers doubt the feasibility of a proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Complex healthcare issues have been discussed.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday he believes Trump will get a win on border security without a government shutdown.
“As long as the president’s priorities are adequately reflected in the budget and [it] allows us to move forward with an increase in military spending and there is enough flexibility for the border wall and border security, we will be OK with that,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence was due to cut short an overseas trip and return to Washington Tuesday to help see a spending bill through, it was announced Monday.
Trump may be new to the capital, but budget brinksmanship is not.