Capitol Correspondence - 03.26.18

Government Spending Bill Enacted, Narrowly Avoiding Shutdown

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Congress has funded the government after several weeks of negotiations and delays resulting from disagreement over various policy rides included in the spending bill, which implements the 2-year spending deal both parties made earlier this year. The delays raised the specter of a government shutdown, as the government was scheduled to run out of funding at 11:59pm on Friday, March 23rd – this worry has been averted, however.

On Thursday March 22, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the federal spending omnibus, which is a large bill compiling several smaller funding bills for different federal agencies. Taken up by the Senate that same day, the bill faced unexpected and last minute resistance from Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and James Risch (R-ID). After cajoling by Senate GOP Leader McConnell the bill passed the Senate shortly after midnight, going to the President’s desk. In a final turn, on the morning of Friday March 23rd the President threatened to veto the bill over lack of border wall funding and DACA provisions, but ultimately signed it in the afternoon to ensure funding for the military.

To ANCOR’s delight, the omnibus included Kevin and Avonte’s law, a bill assisting families whose children with autism wander away from safety for which ANCOR has been a lead supporter. Read more in another article in this issue.

The omnibus increased funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overall by $10 billion, as well as increased funding for other agencies and programs relevant to IDD – please click here to see the list. Thank you to our coalition partners at The Arc of the U.S. for creating the chart. Unfortunately, the bill did not include provisions for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. ANCOR urges its members to continue their advocacy for the program to be renewed – please contact Sarah Meek, Director of Legislative Affairs, at [email protected] to learn more about MFP’s prospects and opportunities in the coming months.