Here we go again. The federal government is on track for another possible shutdown. A vote is expected this week on funding the federal government to keep the lights on in Washington. The deadline is the end of the day on Thursday, so there isn’t much time, but much work to do. There is also the looming threat of federal default as the country nears the debt limit. And there is that huge, $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Congress’ plate this week. Republicans think the spending goes too far, while progressives think it doesn’t go far enough. Why do our elected representatives struggle so much to come up with a plan just to keep the government funded? There is talk that Congress could extend current federal spending levels, but that path remains unclear, and even if they come up with a plan everyone can agree with, it would only be in place for the next two months. Have we not learned anything from previous government shutdowns? The last government shutdown lasted 35 days, the longest in history. During that time federal workers were not paid and the stock market was spooked. Shutting down during a pandemic would likely be even worse. Members of Congress need to work together, and quickly, to get a deal done. Keeping the federal government operating is the bare minimum of their job requirements, but doing so continues to remain elusive for our elected officials.