It would be remarkable if the government shut down under Republicans’ watch, less than a month after their tax victory. But it could happen anyway.

Congress has until Jan. 19 to pass a long-term spending bill that funds the government for the next year. And Congress is most skilled at blowing past important deadlines.

In fact, the only reason Jan. 19 is a deadline is because Congress kicked the can down the road over Christmas, after kicking the can down the road earlier in December, after kicking the can down the road in September, and on and on.

Keeping the government open requires both parties to compromise with each other (gasp!). Republicans need Democrats to pass a spending bill, since a sizable block of House Republicans probably won’t vote for it, and in the Senate, Democrats can filibuster it. On top of everything, President Trump is one of the most unpredictable presidents of the modern era.

While four budget experts who spoke to The Fix think it’s more likely than not Congress will pass something to keep the government open this month, they also say that to avoid a shutdown, Congress will have to solve three intractable problems. Here they are, in order of impact they could have on the spending debate: Full article: