Short-Term Funding Bill Passes Congress
Friday, September 30, 2016
On Wednesday, September 28, Congress passed a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation includes $1 billion to fight Zika and another $500 million for flood relief in Louisiana and other states.
Congress is now in recess until after the elections in November. The bill funds the government through December 9, and then lawmakers will return for a “lame duck” session to craft full funding bills or a long-term Continuing Resolution (CR).
The CR that was passed Wednesday is set at FY2016 funding levels. Lawmakers were able to reach a deal after weeks of negotiations. One of the largest stumbling blocks was disagreement over whether and how to provide aid to Flint, Michigan to address the city’s lead-tainted water system. In the end, Congress agreed to authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects.
The CR includes a small, half percent across-the-board cut to fit under spending caps required by the Budget Control Act.
The White House and Congress now have until December 9 to either negotiate another CR or enact full FY2017 appropriations bills. It is preferable for Congress to pass full funding bills for federal agencies, because a long-term CR that extends into 2017 could jeopardize HUD housing for low-income people. HUD needs approximately $1 billion more than FY2016 spending levels to maintain current program levels and renew existing housing assistance contracts.