Third Time Is Not the Charm

Congress has made promises on three separate occasions to fund the Federal Government for fiscal year 2018 (that began on October 1, 2017).  To date, each of those promises has gone unmet and we’re about to see a fourth instance of unrealized expectations.  The current CR expires on January 19.  House and Senate leaders are already saying that they don’t believe they’ll have funding figures ready for a vote by then.  The “plan” now appears to be to enact another short-term CR through March and follow that with an Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Adding to the complexity of getting dollars out the door are a number of issues that Democrats say must be resolved before a funding bill can be passed.  Among the big ticket items is their determination to have parity between defense and non-defense discretionary spending.  Such an arrangement would certainly provide greater funding for Federal Agencies such as EPA.  Defense hawks among the Republicans are not in favor of such an arrangement.  Without an agreement on this and other key issues such as children’s health insurance, immigration, and funding for the opioid crisis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that Democrats will not support another CR or an Omnibus.

Congressional leaders are meeting this week to try and lay out a path forward.  Unless they can find a compromise, the prospect of a government shutdown becomes more serious.  Since 1990, there have been four significant government shutdowns lasting between 5 and 21 days.  The most recent was a two week stoppage in 2013.  ASDWA will continue to follow this issue and keep state drinking water programs informed.