Unfinished Business Awaits Congress in 2018

January 9, 2018

Congress returned to Washington, DC on January 3rd with a long list of unfinished business—especially as it relates to the federal budget. On December 21, Congress passed, and the President subsequently signed, H.R. 1370, a continuing resolution (CR), to fund the federal government through January 19, 2018. This was the third CR since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2017, and it is likely Congress and the Administration will need to agree on the terms of a fourth CR. A major hurdle to resolving to the FY 2018 funding cycle is the absence of a comprehensive budget agreement.

For months, congressional leaders have, in consultation with the Administration, been deliberating the parameters of a proposal to raise the existing budget caps, enhancing the overall level of spending for domestic and defense spending in 2018 and beyond. In a January 8th article, Bloomberg News identified three major areas holding up the spending deal: “how much to raise each cap, how to pay for the increases, and which programs should benefit.”Without a budget deal the threat of sequestration, or across-the-board categorical spending cuts, will kick in this fiscal year, totaling $549 billion for defense and $516 billion for nondefense spending.

FABBS, as members of NDD United, support the enactment of a comprehensive budget deal that lifts the budget caps, provides equal increases for defense and non-defense spending, and thwarts the threat of sequestration. Once a deal is reached, appropriators can return to their spending bills. The proposed House and Senate numbers for NIH, NSF, and IES are described in prior newsletter articles here and here.