Never Say Never…or Maybe Not

The Federal government ostensibly runs out of money next Friday.  Congress has managed to paralyze itself for most of a year now on how to fund Federal agencies.  Since the beginning of the new Congress (January 2017), they have been unable to pass any of the FY 18 funding bills before the beginning of the new fiscal year or through its first quarter (October 1-December 31, 2017) , choosing, instead, to propose and pass a series of continuing resolutions and promising each time to get the job done thoughtfully and thoroughly by the next deadline.

Today, we read that they are considering yet another CR through February 16 or maybe extend it through March to give themselves time to “get the job done” or maybe pass an omnibus bill instead to save more time to begin working on FY 19 funding.  Meanwhile, Federal agencies such as EPA are left with the inability to plan for needed projects, develop strategies to enhance public health protection, or even simply determine how many staff they will need in the months ahead.  States, as well, face similar unknowns since many Federal programs rely on states for implementation.

Everyone understands that there are no simple answers, but this version of the status quo cannot be allowed to continue.  Congress must find a way to compromise if we are to not just succeed but also sustain.