Congress Returns Next Week, Turns Focus to FY 2017 Appropriations
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Congress returns next week from its two-week recess, at which point lawmakers will focus on reaching a deal to extend fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations in order to avoid a government shutdown.  The government is currently running on a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which keeps funding levels at approximately the same level from the previous fiscal year, that was passed in December last year and expires on April 28th.


Lawmakers are likely to pass another short-term funding bill to keep the government running through the end of this fiscal year, which concludes on September 30th.  Although lawmakers generally would like to avoid a government shutdown as a rule, pressure from the Trump Administration to pass a healthcare bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as well as to provide funding to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, may inflame appropriations negotiations between the two parties this week and result in a loss of support from Democrats.


If the two parties are unable to reach a deal prior to the April 28th deadline, lawmakers may pass a one- or two-week extension to the current CR in order to provide additional time to negotiate but still avoid a government shutdown, according to several Democratic and Republican aides on the Hill.


Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney stated this week that the Administration may be willing to fund some Democratic priorities in exchange for support for funding for the Administration’s proposed border wall.  Republicans in Congress have largely advocated for dealing with border wall funding at a later date so as not to risk a government shutdown over FY 2017 appropriations.  Lawmakers have been working for weeks on a bipartisan compromise to keep the government funded until the end of the fiscal year, but the White House’s urgency to push through two of its major campaign promises may result in a breakdown of those bipartisan negotiations.


Brustein & Manasevit will continue to monitor negotiations over FY 2017 appropriations and notify clients of any major developments as soon as possible.


Resources: Paige Winfield Cunningham, Kelsey Snell, and John Wagner, “White House turns up heat on Congress to revise the Affordable Care Act,” Washington Post, April 20, 2017. Kelsey Snell and Damian Paletta, “White House could provoke a spending showdown over funding for border wall,” Washington Post, April 20, 2017.

About the Author

Kelly Christiansen is an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Title I Association.