Update on Continuing Resolution and Budget Process

Budget handwritten with blue lettering and underlined. Hand shown underlining the word
Good morning – With the current continuing resolution (CR) expiring on December 8, we want to share some information about federal spending bills and how Congress may fund the government. At this point, we don’t expect any government shutdown.
Hunter Moorhead
NASCOE Legislative Consultant

After the reconciliation process on tax reform is concluded, the Congress will turn to completing legislative action on funding the government for FY 2018 and other must pass items. The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported 8 of the FY 2018 appropriations bills from full committee and “posted” the remaining four unreported bills and reports (DoD, Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Interior). Those bills and reports can be viewed at:

https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/majority/fy2018-defense-appropriations-bill-released ;

Financial Services:
https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/majority/fy2018-financial-services-and-general-government-appropriations-bill-released ;

Homeland Security:

https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/majority/fy2018-interior-environment-appropriations-bill-released .

This release of the Senate Appropriations Committee recommendations for the remaining FY 2018 bills sets the stage for conference activities between the House and the Senate on an omnibus appropriations spending measure once a “top line” spending level is agreed to between House and Senate leadership. Observers expect the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will need about three weeks to work out the differences between the 12 appropriations bills and assemble them into an omnibus appropriations bill.

Currently, under the existing continuing resolution, the government is funded through December 8, and an additional CR is expected to be necessary to fund the government beyond December 8 while the appropriations bills and other must pass legislation is finalized. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has suggested a CR until the end of the year may be necessary to complete the Congress’s legislative agenda and others have suggested CRs through December 22nd and through January 15 (2018). The longer the tax reform/relief process takes, the more likely continuing resolutions extending into 2018 become.

Spending levels for Defense and Non-Defense Discretionary continue to be the topic of speculation, with a two year spending adjustment to the Budget Control Act (BCA) of between $182b ($57b DoD, $34b NDD) and $224b ($70b DoD, $42b NDD). Expect the Budget Control Act adjustment to be on the lower side of the range being discussed. After the top line levels are agreed upon by leadership, the Appropriations committees will provide subcommittee allocations for the 12 individual bills to be negoatiated between the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittee chairs and professional staff.

On the 18th of November, the White House submitted the third emergency supplemental request for hurricane (Harvey, Irma, Maria) disaster recovery efforts. That request can be viewed at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/Letters/fy_2018_hurricanes_supp_111717.pdf

While the request included $44b for FEMA ($23.5b), the Small Business Administration ($1.6b), agricultural assistance ($1b), Education Recovery fund ($1.2b), and miscellany Federal agency recovery costs ($4.6b), the request was notable for what it did not include: any funding for California wildfires relief efforts, incomplete funding for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands hurricane recovery efforts, etc. The Administration acknowledged that further supplemental requests would result from continuing efforts with Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands “to identify, refine and articulate additional emergency funding requirements.” The supplemental is expected to move first through the Senate (on an existing and available appropriations vehicle), grow in size and scope, and move to the House in December. Both House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected, time permitting, to hold oversight hearings on the administration’s request. The 3rd Supplemental may also carry other must pass legislative measures as it moves through the Senate and the House.

Possible other legislative measures rumored to be under consideration for inclusion in a Disaster Relief Supplemental, CR, or Omnibus measure that moves in December:

  1. Budget Control Act cap adjustments;
  2. Extenders (CHIP, Medicare, other);
  3. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fix;
  4. FISA Section 702 Extension;
  5. Debt Limit Increase;
  6. National Flood Insurance Program Authorization (NFIP); and
  7. Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) Stabilization legislation.