Capitol Correspondence - 10.28.19

Federal Budget: Congress Might Buy Time for Negotiations with More Stop-Gap Measures

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ANCOR has been regularly updating our members on where the federal budget stands because the majority of disability supports in the United States are federally funded. This week, Politico Pro reported that:

“The Senate finally launched floor debate this week on bills to fund the federal government, but it looks increasingly possible that another stopgap spending bill will be needed amid battles over border fences and impeachment.

While leaders from both parties assure that a government shutdown is highly unlikely, so too is the prospect of clearing any of the fiscal 2020 spending bills by the time the current stopgap runs out on Nov. 21, necessitating another catchall continuing resolution to drag out funding at last year’s levels.


Before the current continuing resolution runs out just before Thanksgiving, lawmakers have just three-and-a-half workweeks in session to rally behind another fallback appropriations plan.


[U.S. Senator and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Richard] Shelby and his counterpart in the lower chamber, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), say it’s still too early to determine how long the next patch could span. But neither one is ruling out the option of a stopgap next month that would extend funding for the entire federal government beyond the December holidays and into 2020.


Besides time off for holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, the December legislative agenda could be complicated by action in both chambers on whether to unseat the president, Shelby noted this week.


Both parties agreed on an overall total for military funding and another topline for non-defense spending under the budget deal, H.R. 3877, this summer. But House and Senate leaders are still debating how to break down that money among the dozen spending bills.


If Congress can’t notch some funding victories in clearing even the most bipartisan bills in the bunch over the next few months, appropriations leaders say a full-year stopgap could be in the cards.

By enacting a continuing resolution through Sept. 30 of next year, lawmakers would be keeping spending levels static, forfeiting the $49 billion in additional funding authority they clinched under the budget deal Trump signed in August.

While the prospect of a full-year stopgap ‘has been talked about,’ Shelby said Monday, the threat is not looming just yet.”