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Congress Funds Federal Government Through December 9

October 3, 2016

On September 29, President Obama signed a 10-week stopgap federal spending bill. The agreement allows lawmakers to postpone work on FY17 appropriations for most government agencies until after Election Day. The measure includes full FY17 funding only for military construction and the veterans affairs appropriations bill.

Partisan sniping over emergency funding to combat the Zika virus and to address the drinking  water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as a number of other contentious issues, delayed agreement for weeks on a temporary spending measure. There were also disputes over whether to fully complete work on FY17 funding in a lame-duck session of Congress in December or wait until a new president and a new Congress are in place next January. Passing temporary legislation that funds the government through early December allows lawmakers to take Election Day outcomes into consideration as they decide how to proceed on FY17 spending.

Congress is bitterly polarized and it is difficult to predict how it will approach budget negotiations in December. There will be attempts to pass a catchall spending package (an omnibus bill) but conservative lawmakers oppose this approach, arguing that such massive bills often pass without adequate scrutiny.

Separate House and Senate versions of FY17 appropriations for student aid programs would raise the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,935, but significant differences remain in other areas. The Senate would reinstate year-round Pell availability, but the House would not. Additionally, the House funding bill would repurpose surplus Pell funding, which NACUBO supports using for the restoration of year-round Pell Grants.

Contact

Liz Clark
Director, Federal Affairs
202.861.2553
E-mail