January 22, 2018

Congress Passes Short-Term CR to End Government Shutdown, Sets Sights on Budget Deal

Today, Congress approved a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), ending a government shutdown that lasted nearly three days. The CR extends FY17 funding levels through February 8, giving Congressional leaders three more weeks to reach a budget deal that lifts the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

The lack of a budget deal has stymied efforts by House and Senate Appropriators to finalize FY18 spending bills, forcing Congress to rely on stopgap spending bills to keep the government open. Today’s CR is the fourth short-term spending measure to pass Congress since the 2018 fiscal year began on October 1.

As noted previously, a budget deal that raises the non-defense discretionary spending cap is essential to ensure America’s development and diplomacy programs are properly funded in FY18.

Even if Congress reaches agreement on a budget deal before the February 8 deadline, a fifth short-term CR may be still necessary to allow Appropriators time to revise their FY18 spending bills to reflect the new toplines.

As a reminder, the Administration is expected to release its FY19 budget request in early February. If Congress continues to defer final decisions on FY18 spending, the FY19 appropriations process may see delays as well.