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Government may shut down, but lawmaker fundraising goes on

Dollars and flag

If Congress cannot reach a deal before Tuesday on a resolution to fund the government, the government will shut down — but lawmakers' political fundraising operations won’t.

The debate over whether and how to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year Monday has hit at the very end of the year's third fundraising quarter, when campaigns usually sprint to bring in as much last-minute cash as possible. Political money comes slowly during the summer when many people are on vacation, and so September, in particular, is usually a must-win fundraising month.

For some lawmakers, the last-minute budget crisis has thrown a wrench in their plans.

Senators were able to largely escape canceling fund-raising events because they will not need to stay in Washington this weekend, multiple lawmakers said.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a material difference one way or the other,” Sen. Rob Portman, the vice president for finance at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said of the budget showdown.

On the House side, however, a Democratic operative confirmed that some members had been forced to cancel events over the weekend, when the House will be in session.

Even House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had to postpone a two-day donor retreat at a resort in Virginia, which would have started Sunday.

A likely financial beneficiary of the drawn-out debate is Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who staged a dramatic 21-hour speech in support of defunding the Affordable Care Act, which thrilled the conservative base. His fundraising numbers for the past few days aren’t public yet — but they’re expected to be strong.

“I have no doubt Ted Cruz raised an extraordinary amount of money online because of his filibuster,” a Senate fundraiser said.