A “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to fund the government at current levels through November 21 was approved by the Senate yesterday after House passage last week, sending the stopgap measure to President Trump for his signature.
- A senior White House official said President Trump will sign the CR, which avoids the threat of a government shutdown on October 1, the start of the government’s fiscal year. The measure includes funding for programs of importance to commercial real estate, including the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program and National Flood Insurance Program. (BGov, Sept. 26 and Roll Call, Sept. 23)
- The CR gives lawmakers more time to negotiate spending levels and policy differences, since none of the 12 annual discretionary spending bills have been signed into law yet. One of the most contentious issues in the appropriations process is funding for a wall on the southern border, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. Disagreements over wall funding led to the historic 35-day partial government shutdown in 2018–2019. (Politico, Jan. 25)
- President Trump’s request for $5 billion for a southern border wall resulted in Democrats proposing an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday to block the funds. (Washington Post, Sept. 26)
- Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) said, “As we close out this month, I think, we must acknowledge the progress we have made while also recognizing that we still have a long way to go in fulfilling our duty to fund the government. Most importantly for those negotiations to end in success ... my Democratic colleagues and the president will have to reach an agreement, once again, on border security."
- The appropriations dispute exists despite an agreement over the summer between Congress and the administration on a broad deal that allocated more than $2.7 trillion in discretionary federal spending over two years and suspended the debt ceiling until July 2021. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 2)
Congress will return from a two-week recess on Oct. 15 to face the Nov. 21 funding deadline, or the prospect of another partial government shutdown. The tight timeframe poses the possibility of more stopgap measures if differences over funding levels cannot be resolved. Another scenario is the prospect of a full-year CR. (CQ and Politico, Sept. 26)
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