Congress Unlikely to Resolve Spending Issues

Lawmakers seem to be viewing another stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown just before Thanksgiving, as inevitable. By all outward appearance, Congress seems unlikely to resolve their differences in order to use regular spending bills before the stopgap bill funding agencies at their fiscal 2019 levels expires on Nov. 21, an additional continuing resolution seems more likely.  
"Unless a miracle happens around here with the House and Senate, we will have to put forth another CR," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee stated this past week. He added it would likely be "in the ballpark" of funding agencies through February or March. 
Shelby previously noted the negative consequences of funding the government stopgap by stopgap. 
"The prospect of serial continuing resolutions -- or worse, another government shutdown -- casts a dark shadow over our previous success," Shelby said on the Senate floor this week ahead of the chamber's first vote on spending bills for fiscal 2020. "Such uncertainty also wreaks havoc on every federal agency's ability to plan, and it is particularly acute when it comes to the military."
The Senate recently adopted a package of appropriations measures to fund the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, Justice and other agencies. Under a budget agreement signed by President Trump earlier this year, most agencies will receive a funding boost once full-year spending levels are set. The Senate is scheduled to resume consideration of that bill on Monday. 
Even if the Senate is able to advance its own spending bills, it would still have to reconcile them with the House. The Democratically-controlled lower chamber has approved 10 of the 12 annual appropriations measures, largely along party lines. Lawmakers have indicated the two chambers have yet to agree to allocations for each of the 12 annual spending bills.
"House Democrats refuse to play politics with a government shutdown, and we will pass necessary legislation to keep the federal government up and running," said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, on Friday. 
In addition to the spending levels, several additional sticking points remain as lawmakers look to strike a funding agreement. Democrats have included several policy riders in their spending bills that could hold up negotiations, related to funding for a wall along the southern border, blocking the elimination of the Office of Personnel Management as an independent agency, abortion policy and other issues. 
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., had previously indicated Congress may need more time to reach a deal. 
"We are prepared to cooperate with the administration and with our Republican colleagues to ensure that the government is funded and serving the American people and defending the American people," Hoyer said. "The Senate has not passed any appropriations bills. We're concerned about that, but we're going to work very hard between now and Nov. 21 and thereafter if necessary -- I hope it's not necessary -- to get agreement so that the government can be operational."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said after his chamber clears its initial spending package, it will move to another "minibus" that includes funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Those measures have yet to receive the same bipartisan support given the initial set of spending bills.

« Back to News

News & Tips
Government contractor news & industry tips from a source you can trust. Sign up for our weekly updates to stay informed and get involved. Easily unsubscribe at any time.

Our Insider's Guide Series was developed as an easy-to-understand series of guides to assist you through the government procurement process.

National Association of Government Contractors
1250 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-465-3750
Toll Free: 1.800.979.NAGC
LinkedIn Facebook Twitter

FedEx Shipping Discount
Office Depot Member Program
Dell Small Business
Avis Car Rental
GEICO Insurance

Privacy Policy | Subscriber Agreement & Terms of Use | Purchase Policy | Data & Cookies
Copyright © 2004 - 2020 National Association of Government Contractors.   All Rights Reserved. Geotrust RapidSSL