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.
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.