Federal Budget Update

Congress has been working in recent months to pass FY19 appropriations bills in small groups, each called a “minibus,” after President Trump expressed displeasure in the spring at signing an omnibus appropriations bill, consisting of all 12 delayed FY18 bills, and stated that he would never do that again. As of today, both the Senate and House have passed the so-called minibus I, H.R. 5895, consisting of full year funding for the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding measures. The President is expected to sign the bill.

This week….

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Next Shutdown Deadline March 23

The budget deal decided the size of the overall federal pie, but not the size of each slice agencies will receive.

The budget deal decided the size of the overall federal pie, but not the size of each slice agencies will receive.

By now you've heard there was a budget deal signed by the President. The deal re-opened the shuttered federal government, but only through March 23.

It also sets the overall amount of money the federal government has, but not individual agency allocations. As Politico noted, it sets the overall size of the pie, but did not establish the size of the slices that each agency gets.

Between now and March 23, Congress needs to fight about the appropriation that each agency will receive. That exercise needs to be completed by March 23. If they don't succeed by the deadline, the government will either again close its doors, or they will need to pass another continuing resolution.

If you're concerned about EPA's budget or other issues, click here and email your Congressperson.

Budget Deal in the Works, CR Will Be Necessary

Annual budget process flow chart. This is how its supposed to work.

Annual budget process flow chart. This is how its supposed to work.

I'm sure you've already heard about the budget deal being worked out in the Senate today. We're on Capitol Hill this week at NTEU's legislative conference. What we've learned from our discussions with Senators, Congresspersons, and legislative staff is that it will likely take a couple weeks to work out the budget deal between the house and the Senate. That will require one or two new continuing resolutions (CRs).

Staff we spoke with expect the CR to be voted on today and to pass because neither party has an appetite for another shutdown. That will give both houses of Congress time to work out an "omnibus" budget deal.

Speaker Pelosi seems, however, unhappy that there's no DACA-fix included in the budget deal. Staff nonetheless expect that this objection will not stop a budget deal that's in the works.

The wildcard is, of course, President Trump. It is unknown whether the President will sign the omnibus into law. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

The Clock is Running on Next Shutdown Threat

Unless you were on another planet, you know by now that another short-term continuing resolution (CR) was passed to keep the government open. This CR expires at midnight on February 8, 2018, which means that if a budget deal is not reached in Congress by then and signed by the President, the government will again shut down.

EPA announced before the last shutdown that it had funds to operate for about a week. Assuming that's true, and knowing that we've used one of those days of funds while the rest of the government was shut down, it is likely that EPA will be able to operate through February 14 or 15 before needing to shutter the doors.

NTEU National was on the Hill fighting for us and obtained two large victories....

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Ho, Ho, Ho! Shutdown looming!

From our government budget and politics contact. Looks like a game of chicken is unfolding. Democrats and Republicans are both saying that a government shutdown will hurt the other guys more than their side. As a result, it's looking more likely that January 19 will roll around without a budget or continuing resolution (CR). Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Read on for more detail from our budget contact....

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Continuing Resolution Expires December 8. Then What?

On December 8th, the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 expires and the temporary debt limit suspension in place will be lifted.  To date, none of the FY 2018 appropriations bills have been enacted and there remains no agreement on the so-called spending caps (sequestration).

On December 8th, funding for federal agencies expires and the temporary debt limit suspension will be lifted.  Congress must vote before then to pass a CR, an omnibus appropriations bill, or some combination thereof to keep the government open.....

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House Committee Passes EPA Budget Bill

Today the U.S. House of Representatives Interior & Environment Committee passed a funding bill for EPA, the Department of the Interior, and related agencies. The bill provides EPA a bit more than $7.5 billion, a 6.6% cut. Coupled with the 1% cut for fiscal year 2017, EPA would be down 7.6% if the bill passes and is signed into law.

There some question about whether the EPA funding bill will pass Congress. Legislators are still discussing an "omnibus" spending bill, that would lump all the non-defense agencies together. No telling what would come out of that process.

We'll keep you posted!

Good? Budget News...

Politico is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives' Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee "finalized a fiscal 2018 Interior and Environment spending package" with only "slight reduction in funds from current levels...."  Politico reports that the bill would give agencies covered by the spending bill, including EPA, "$31.5 billion for fiscal year 2018 compared to $32.37 billion in current funding."

While cuts to EPA's programs are likely to negatively impact environmental protection....

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CR Update: Congress Needs to Get it In Gear, Soon

EPA's current funding expires, with much of the federal government's, on Friday, April 28th. Both Congress and the President must act in order to prevent a government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.

Congressional leadership and the administration are in negotiations regarding appropriations legislation that would keep federal agencies operating for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on September 30. With Congress heading into a two-week recess....

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Cuts are coming, but......

....the question is:  when? 

You've probably seen the Greenwire story covering the budget cuts at EPA announced by the White House today. But while the White House wants to significantly cut EPA, there are a number of procedural obstacles in their way that would delay those cuts, hopefully into the next fiscal year. Here's why.....

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