January 22, 2018 Federal Policy Update
Congress Passes 4th CR to End Shutdown
New Funding Measure Runs Through February 8
This afternoon, after nearly three days of negotiations to end the government shutdown that began Friday at midnight, the Senate voted 81-18 in favor of a three-week continuing resolution (CR). The House swiftly followed the Senate, passing the short-term funding measure by a vote of 266-150. Democratic and Republican Senators who objected to the previous CR were swayed by a shorter CR period and promises to bring immigration reform to the Senate floor in the next three weeks.
Assuming the President signs the measure tonight, the government should re-open tomorrow, ending the three-day shutdown.
While grateful that federal funding will once again flow, n4a is cognizant of the fact that Congress still has to reach a deal on raising the budget caps for discretionary spending, then finalize all 12 FY 2018 appropriations bills. The February 8 deadline may prove sufficient for the former, but it will take yet another CR most likely to resolve all specific funding levels for the fiscal year that started on October 1.
Advocacy is still needed to press for the highest possible budget cap relief for non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending. The reason that a deal hasn’t yet been reached is due to the fact that Republican leadership wants to raise the defense spending cap significantly higher than the NDD cap, breaking with recent tradition of parity between those two spending categories. If the NDD caps aren’t raised sufficiently, cuts to aging programs could be the result.
For example, the House’s appropriations bills this fall abided by the caps currently in law—and this is why SHIP was proposed for elimination as a cost-saving measure. The Senate’s bill, which used a higher overall number, was able to maintain SHIP funding. That’s why n4a is pushing for parity between categories and the highest possible relief for NDD.
Stay tuned for an Advocacy Alert on how you can reach out to your Members this week on the budget caps and appropriations levels—this is the time to press our case!
Need a refresher on how we got here? Our January 17 Legislative Update explains how an impasse on how to raise the budget caps got further complicated by politics and immigration policy.
ThisLegislative Update is an n4a membership benefit. For more information about these and other federal aging policy issues, please contact n4a’s policy team: Amy Gotwals (email@example.com) and Autumn Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org), 202.872.0888.