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Congress Takes a Break before Tough Funding Decisions

Both the House and Senate are taking a two week break before having to come to a decision on how and how much to fund Federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 (roughly five months).  Will they achieve enough bipartisan ‘will’ to make individual funding decisions that can be rolled into an Omnibus bill; will we see another CROmnibus that combines some new funding for individual agencies with existing CR levels for others like EPA; or will we see just another extension of existing funding levels for all?
There are about 100 unresolved policy issues.  Neither the House nor the Senate has tackled some of the thornier issues like whether or how to fund the Administration’s “border wall” request or how to mitigate some of the more drastic Administration-proposed funding cuts like the 31% cut to EPA.
Officially, both Chambers are back in town by April 24 but votes are not likely to be scheduled until Wednesday of that week.  The House has tentatively said that they expect to have a legislative vehicle in place by April 26 which gives them three days to pass a bill, send it to the Senate, have the Senate agree with House proposals, and get the measure to the President for signature before midnight on April 28 or face a Government shutdown.  There is also talk of the funding measure being attached to a Senate defense bill which upends the traditional process and would have the Senate act first.
The Congressional break also shortens the time left to work on FY 18 budget allocations, assess the Administration’s more detailed budget request (due out at the end of this month), and make funding decisions to avoid implementing yet another series of chronic continuing resolutions when the new fiscal year begins on October 1.