Published since 1946
Congress Passes Stopgap Spending, Debates Long-term Funding Plans
On December 8, Congress passed a continuing resolution that provides a two-week extension to the deadline to enact spending levels for fiscal year 2018. The continuing resolution expires on December 22, and Congress will have to act to either pass an omnibus appropriations bill, or agree to another continuing resolution that will carry into the new year. Given the short time between deadlines, it is unlikely that the spending bills will be passed in time. Instead, negotiators are focusing on reaching a budget agreement that would establish overall discretionary spending levels before the December 22 deadline, leaving discussions on an omnibus appropriations bill until after the holidays.
The federal government’s fiscal year starts on October 1, but Congress was unable to pass standalone appropriations bills to fund federal agency operations. The House passed its Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill as part of a larger appropriations bill, H.R. 3354, in July. Spending levels for the departments included within the bill are set at $31.4 billion with the Department of the Interior allocated $11.9 billion. The Senate released its version of the bill in mid-November and includes $32.6 billion overall and $12.17 billion for the Department of the Interior. The Senate is unlikely to pass its version of the bill and instead the legislation is expected to set up a negotiation point during discussions with House Appropriators.