Fall Appropriations Outlook
With the 2020 Fiscal Year beginning October 1st, Congress has less than three weeks to pass legislation to avoid another government shutdown. While Congressional Leadership from both parties have struck an optimistic chord on avoiding a shutdown, it is almost certain that a Continuing Resolution will be required in order to give Congress more time to pass spending bills that provide funding for the federal government in the upcoming fiscal year.
Before departing for August recess, lawmakers agreed to a spending cap law that allows nearly $1.3 trillion in discretionary funds for FY2020. The House has marked up all twelve of its spending bills and passed ten of them, the two exceptions being the Homeland Security and Legislative Branch funding bills. Committee staff has indicated those two bills will be worked out directly during a conference session with their Senate counterparts.
While House Appropriators chose to move quickly in advancing legislation, the Senate chose to wait until after the recess to unveil its own. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee formally approved Chairman Richard Shelby’s FY2020 subcommittee allocation proposal during a full committee mark up. Following the adoption of the subcommittee allocations, the committee moved quickly, marking up and passing both the Defense and Energy-Water Development bills shortly thereafter.
As the below chart listing the funding levels for the current House and Senate legislation, alongside FY2019 authorized levels for context, demonstrates, there is still much work to be done as Congressional Appropriators continue working to fund the federal government and avoid yet another shutdown.