U.S. Capitol

By Ezra Klein
Published: September 23 at 4:17 pm

In theory, the deadline for avoiding a government shutdown is 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30. That gives Congress seven days to figure something out. But those seven days are, at this point, pretty much spoken for.

The Senate is now considering the House’s continuing resolution, which defunds Obamacare. But Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, among others, has promised to filibuster that bill. So, here’s what happens next:

1) The Senate files cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill. A “cloture” vote — which is how you overcome a filibuster — takes two full calendar days. So that takes us to Wednesday.

2) There are 30 hours of post-cloture debate. If Cruz and his compatriots choose to burn time — and they probably will — that means it’ll be Thursday before the Senate is actually on the bill.

3) The Senate files cloture to move to a vote on the bill and the amendment stripping out the “defund” language, as Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged. Two more calendar days. Now it’s Saturday.

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