Glimmers of Hope Appear for 2017 Appropriations

Despite the recent tradition of governing via continuing resolution, there are some early signs that this year just may be different.  The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI), seems to have had some success in reaching across the aisle on funding decisions.  His call for a return to “regular order” coupled with a promise that more floor time will be made available for appropriations’ debates seems to resonate with Democrats – both in the House and in the Senate.  In fact, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), has promised not to block FY 17 spending measures from being debated on the Senate floor.  Ryan has already signaled an ambitious strategy to have the 12 appropriations bills come to the floor as early as March…an almost unheard of schedule.

While early indications of funding plans are more positive than in recent years, we must take into consideration that this is also an election year.  Members up for reelection are known to avoid making tough funding decisions right before Election Day.  This would argue for at least one continuing resolution to take us into the new fiscal year on October 1, 2016.

In any event, it is still encouraging to learn that the leadership in both parties appear to be more willing to work together on funding measures than in years past.