With the start of the 2019 Fiscal Year (FY) only two months away, Congress has been focused on appropriations bills. The House and Senate have been working to pass appropriations bills in small groups, each called a “minibus,” ahead of October 1st after President Trump expressed great displeasure in March at signing an omnibus appropriations bill (consisting of all 12, delayed FY18 bills) and said that he would never do that again.
To date, the House has passed six of its 12 appropriations bills, and the Senate has passed three. The Senate is scheduled to pass four more next week and will continue to work through most of the month of August (the Senate plans on a one-week recess the week of August 6th) on its remaining appropriations measures while the House is in recess. However, of the appropriations bills that have passed both the House and the Senate, significant disagreements remain and need to be resolved before they can be enacted. Failure to enact any of these bills prior to October 1st would result in a government shutdown for the agencies covered unless Congress were to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). While passage of a CR has been relatively routine in previous years, given the multiple CRs and shutdowns for FY18, resulting in a chaotic funding environment for agencies, combined with a contentious Supreme Court battle brewing, the mid-term elections approaching, and the President’s past stated opposition to a CR for FY19, the fall funding situation remains uncertain. Nevertheless, it is widely speculated that final agreement on FY19 spending bills will not occur until after the November elections take place, and that some kind of short-term funding measure will be needed for the start of FY19.
NTEU will continue to work with members of the House and Senate to secure adequate FY19 funding for agencies, along with a pay increase, and to avoid a government shutdown. However, should one occur, NTEU will fight to ensure that all federal workers receive their paychecks on time.