Government Shutdown Looms as Current Continuing Resolution Expires Friday; White House Expresses Interest in Bipartisan Negotiations


Legislative Activity

Government Shutdown Looms as Current CR Expires Friday; White House Expresses Interest in Bipartisan Negotiations

Congress faces a short time frame to pass a spending package for the remainder of the current fiscal year and prevent a government shutdown as the current FY 2017 Continuing Resolution (CR/P.L. 114-254) expires Friday at midnight. House and Senate leadership remain optimistic that an FY 2017 omnibus will be passed this week, with House Appropriations spokeswoman Jennifer Hing indicating “a shutdown is not on the table;” but there has also been discussion of passing a week-long CR before April 28 to allow more time for negotiations. The White House also remains optimistic, with Kellyanne Conway and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offering confidence that a government shutdown is unlikely.

As for the likely vehicle for the spending bill, the omnibus could be added as an amendment to the March 8 passed FY 2017 Defense funding bill that is currently in the Senate, or the House could use one of the Appropriations Committee-passed bills to originate the omnibus and subsequently send it to the Senate.

The greatest obstacles to passing an omnibus is the Trump Administration’s request for $3 billion for border security, an extra $30 billion for defense spending, and a prohibition on funds to “sanctuary cities.” Democrats are reportedly countering these GOP requests with measures to include funding for Affordable Care Act (ACA/PL 111-148/PL 111-152) health insurance subsidies and increased spending for overseas famine relief.

Late last week, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney indicated the White House is open to including ACA cost-sharing subsidies in the FY 2017 spending package in exchange for including the administration’s request for increased funds for border security and defense. Mulvaney offered this negotiation to Democrats saying the White House is “ready to talk about” a compromise, but that ultimately “we want wall funding” included in the spending bill.

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National Law Review, Volumess VII, Number 114