President Donald Trump signed legislation Friday to end the longest government shutdown in history, reopening the IRS just before the filing season is set to start.
The three-week continuing resolution will fund the government at previous levels through Feb. 15. The agreement between congressional leaders and the White House came just one day after the Senate failed to pass two separate bills to reopen the government. There seemed then to be no pathway to a resolution following the failed votes, with Democrats and Republicans standing firmly in their corners. However, the prospect of federal workers missing a second consecutive paycheck, delays and cancellations at major airports, and political pressure appeared to have all factored into the sudden reversal.
With the government now open, the IRS should be fully staffed. The agency recently recalled 26,000 workers to staff its processing and call centers before the shutdown ended, but 14,000 failed to report. The Tax Court will also reopen for the first time since Dec. 28. The court had already canceled 18 trial sessions, leaving potentially hundreds of cases in limbo. Taxpayers should continue to comply with all deadlines and requirements as the IRS works through its backlog.
Although Congress and the White House appear intent on negotiating a long-term resolution in the coming weeks, the threat of a second shutdown still looms. Trump raised that possibility in his address from the Rose Garden Friday, and despite agreeing to reopen the government, Democrats and Republicans have made no meaningful progress on a border security and immigration compromise.
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