Congress Faces Another Deadline to Fund Federal Government

Congress remains at an impasse over how to fund the federal government for FY18, creating the possibility of a government shutdown when the current stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), expires on January 19. A CR carries forward funding levels from the previous year. Lawmakers have now passed several CRs for FY18, as they continue to negotiate a final deal to lift mandatory caps to increase spending on discretionary programs and fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

House leaders have indicated they are close to reaching a two-year spending deal and hope to have it approved by both the House and Senate before the current CR expires this week. But Congress will likely have to pass another CR to give appropriators time to finalize the 12 annual spending bills—including those that fund affordable housing and community development program—based on the increased funding levels set by the deal. These bills will likely be combined to form an omnibus spending package.

Democrats continue to demand that any deal maintain parity between defense and nondefense spending and include emergency aid for areas impacted by recent hurricanes and wildfires, as well as a fix for young undocumented immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) did not rule out attaching a disaster aid package to the CR and said that Congress needs to provide more than the $81 billion aid package passed by the House in December.