September 30, 2016

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding Measure Through Dec. 9

This week, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open through December 9th, avoiding a possible shutdown as the fiscal year came to a close. In a vote of 77-21 in the Senate and 342-85 in the House, the CR sailed through after negotiations resolved several sticking points, including funding for the tainted-water crisis in Flint, MI. While the CR ultimately did not provide funding for Flint, Republicans and Democrats agreed to provide the assistance during the lame-duck session.

The CR was identical to the version reported on last week with regards to international affairs—it sets out $54.4 billion for the International Affairs Budget and $1.1 billion in emergency funding for the Zika response, including $175 million for the State Department and USAID. Funding for the International Affairs Budget is slightly below current spending due to required across-the-board cuts, but is close to the Administration’s FY17 request.

International Affairs Budget Snapshot

FY16 Enacted FY17 Request FY17 House FY17 Senate FY17 CR
Base $39.7 billion $39.4 billion $39.1 billion $39.2 billion $39.5 billion
OCO $14.9 billion $14.9 billion $14.9 billion $14.9 billion $14.9 billion
Total $54.6 billion $54.3 billion $54.0 billion $54.1 billion $54.4 billion

Notably, the CR did not include a provision relating to the Export-Import Bank’s Board of Directors, which State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pushed for during negotiations. House Appropriator Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) indicated this week that the Export-Import Bank would be a key issue in spending negotiations later this year.

Next Steps

When lawmakers return to Washington after the election, they will have until December 9th to pass a final spending bill for FY17. This week Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) expressed optimism that Congress would be able to complete an omnibus funding package in time. However, Republicans in the House have indicated a preference for moving smaller funding bills—known as minibuses—as opposed to one larger bill.