December 22, 2017
1. Congress Passes Short-term CR, Punts Funding Decisions into New Year
Capping off a busy week dominated by the passage of tax reform legislation, Congress on Thursday approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown just before the holidays. The CR extends FY17 funding levels through January 19, 2018 – giving Members of Congress time to revive stalled negotiations on a budget deal to determine final FY18 spending levels.
Reaching a bipartisan budget deal that lifts the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending is just one item on a lengthy to-do list facing Congress in the New Year. With other controversial items including immigration and health care expected to take center stage in January and Democrats and Republicans still at odds over spending priorities, a deal is not guaranteed.
As mentioned before, a budget deal that raises the non-defense discretionary spending cap is critical to ensure America’s development and diplomacy programs are properly funded in FY18.
Once a budget deal is reached, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will still need time to revise their FY18 spending bills based on the new toplines. Congress will need to move quickly if it wants to complete FY18 spending before the expected release of the Administration’s FY19 budget request in early February.
2. Five-Year Global Food Security Act Reauthorization Introduced
Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced a five-year reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act this week. The original bill, which was signed into law last year, required the U.S. government to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to address global food insecurity and combat malnutrition. The new legislation reauthorizes this strategy and critical food security programs managed under the Feed the Future initiative through 2023.