At this time, Congress does not have a deal to fund federal agencies past Thursday night, and the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires February 8 at midnight. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to be in session only three days this week due to a congressional retreat for legislators to craft their agendas for the remainder of 2018.
At 7:00 p.m. today the House Republican caucus plans to meet to discuss a fifth stopgap spending bill.House Republican leadership is considering advancing another CR that is expected to run through March 22.
The White House has requested several supplemental funding provisions be included by Congress in this next CR such as an extra $90 million to help the Internal Revenue Service implement the new tax law, funds to bolster Pentagon shipbuilding and Department of Energy nuclear weapons accounts, as well as $225 million in emergency funds for the Small Business Administration’s disaster loans account. Though not specifically requested in its funding (anomalies) list, the White House has reportedly informally asked GOP leaders to attach a debt limit suspension to the next stopgap funding measure. The Treasury Department currently believes the U.S. government’s ability to continue to borrow and keep the government operating may run out by the end of February. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the United States would begin to default on payments that it is legally obligated to make, payments that Congress has already promised that we will make. Such a situation could create significant disruption in markets and the economy.
A vote on a stopgap spending measure could take place as soon as tomorrow in the House of Representatives. However, without an overall agreement on defense and non-defense spending levels, as well asother outstanding policy issues, such as immigration, it remains unclear if there are enough votes to pass another CR, and a lapse in appropriations could occur.
As we once again face a government funding deadline, it is imperative that Congress and the administration continue working together to keep the federal government open. I will keep you updated on further developments. For more information, please visit the NTEU Legislative Action Center.