Congress Makes No Progress on Finalizing Spending

Update: As this blog post was published, House GOP leaders announced their intent to vote to extend the current continuing resolution (CR) until December 22. Watch for our real-time issue updates on Twitter at @APAadvocates.

Despite the quickly-approaching December 8 expiration of the stop-gap measure that is currently providing government funding, Congress has taken no steps to finalize spending or advance another short-term spending bill.

The situation has not changed much since a deal was struck in early September between the President and Democratic leadership to delay final spending decisions for the FY 2018 and extend government spending until December, as Congress has been consumed with the debate over tax reform legislation.

Though reports of an imminent budget deal were circulating prior to the Thanksgiving recess, it appears no deal has been finalized.

The President invited Congressional leadership to the White House yesterday to discuss appropriations, but after he tweeted that he did not “see a deal” with Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined the invitation.

At this point, another short-term continuing resolution is inevitable, though the length of the bill is unclear. Several appropriators have vocalized their preference for an extension that would give Congress time to finalize spending this month before adjourning for the holiday recess.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus has proposed an extension until January to avoid the end of the year rush to pass spending bills that they have opposed in the past.

Realistically, the fate of FY 2018 spending may be tied to tax reform: If Congress has trouble passing the tax reform bill, there may not be the floor time or political will to deal with spending before the holiday recess.

Another complicating factor could be the vow by some Democrats to oppose any spending bill that does not include a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, also known as Dreamers), which could trigger a government shutdown.

As the situation unfolds, APA will share updates through and Twitter at @APAadvocates.

Top image: U.S. Capitol. Photo by Flickr user RJ Schmidt (CC BY-ND 2.0).

About the Author
Tess Hembree is policy manager at Advocacy Associates.

November 30, 2017

By Tess Hembree