National Council of Nonprofits: Federal Government Shutdown to End, Many Issues Still in Play

National Council of Nonprofits

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Federal Government Shutdown to End, Many Issues Still in Play

A three-day federal government shutdown could end today if the House of Representatives approves a short-term spending bill the Senate is expected to pass this afternoon that would fund the government through February 8. As part of the deal to reopen the government, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has committed to bringing to the Senate floor a bill to address border security and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in early February if a broader immigration and year-long spending agreement is not reached sooner. The bill also re-authorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In December, Congress had passed its third short-term spending bill since the beginning of the fiscal year in October that enabled the federal government to operate through January 19. Speaker Ryan said yesterday that the House will accept a short-term bill through February 8, but would only commit to an immigration bill “that the president supports to fix this problem.”


Once a deal is struck on the latest short-term spending measure that reopens the government, lawmakers must resolve several other issues before a year-long appropriations bill can be enacted. Congressional negotiators still have to set top-level spending caps. Most Republicans are seeking to spend $54 billion more on defense this year and next while Democrats are insisting that the cap for nondefense spending be raised by the same amount. Once that issue is resolved, negotiators must answer the question of how much, if any, of the more than $200 billion in new spending will be offset with separate spending cuts or revenue hikes. Only then can appropriators allocate dollars to the thousands of programs across the federal government and draft an omnibus spending bill that would run until September 30, the end of fiscal year 2018.


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