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Countdown To Shutdown: Understanding The Legislation

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The House and Senate stand on the verge of sending hundreds of thousands of people home from work, telling them the differences between the two sides are too monumental to overcome.

Picture the document it would take to cause that much strife.

It all comes down to this: House Joint Resolution 59.  It's just 19-pages long, and you can see for yourself those pages aren't full of text.

The real disagreement is only a few paragraphs long.  Section 137 here defunds the President's healthcare law.

Joint Resolution 59 gets rejected by the Senate.

They send back this version, that removes the controversial section about the healthcare law all together.

Then we get a House rebuttal.  This is proposal has the most meat, coming in at twenty-six pages.

This time it pushes the healthcare law back by a year.

Here's the other interesting thing about these competing proposals.

The House Republican version only funds the government through December 15th, and the Senate Democrat proposal only funds it through November 15th.

If either of these goes though, we'll have to do the whole thing again before the end of the calendar year.

But possibly lost in the shuffle is House Resolution 3210.

The whole thing is just about two pages long.

But these two pages could save The Valley a lot of heart ache.

The resolution - called the 'Pay Our Military Act' - gives the executive branch discretion over who gets paid during a shutdown.

First off, active duty military get their paychecks under the act, even in the event of a shutdown.

Second, it gives the Secretary of Defense power to determine who else gets paid.

The resolution says right here that the Secretary can allocate funds to pay any civilian or contractor who "are providing support to members of the Armed Forces."

Of course, there's a lot of flexibility there for the Secretary of Defense.

His interpretation would totally reshape the look of a shutdown under HR 3210.