Congress Facing Another Government Shutdown

Congress has again waited until the last minute to address government funding, which runs out at midnight tonight. Yesterday, Senate leaders announced a bipartisan two-year budget bill agreement which would include a mammoth $500 billion increase in domestic and defense spending. If passed, the bill would end the recent cycle of short-term government funding. The bill also would suspend the debt limit until March 2019, after the midterm elections. The President has signaled his support for the legislation, and despite protests from some conservative senators, passage in the Senate is expected today.

The situation in the House is more complicated. Conservative are balking at the plan, calling the legislation irresponsible since it vastly increases deficit spending. Many of these members, including the Freedom Caucus, are vowing to oppose it. As a sweetener for these members, the bill would also create a budget “super committee,” which would be required to develop proposals to improve Congress’s budgeting process. Any recommendations would need to be approved by a super-majority of Congress. Further complicating passage is House Minority Leader Pelosi’s announcement yesterday that she will not support any deal that does not include the promise of a vote on a legislative fix for the “Dreamers.”

Next week, we will see the release of the President’s FY 2019 Budget, which is typically viewed as a guide to the Administration’s policy and spending priorities. As part of the budget release, specifics on the President’s infrastructure plan are also expected. CDA will be watching closely for issues impacting our members, such as proposals for a federal gas tax and any new direction for the FDA on tobacco issues.