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Congress has not yet passed a comprehensive budget for FY18, but lawmakers have reached agreement on a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government until December 22.

This new continuing resolution, H.J. Res 123, is primarily intended to allow Congress time to come to an agreement on FY18 discretionary budget caps. The caps currently in place are too low for Congress to complete the appropriations process, meaning lawmakers will either need to agree on appropriating less money in the budget or agree to raise the caps.

Republican congressional leaders will be unable to pass a budget deal without support from Democrats, who they are working to appease with a range of measures including reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

However, given the significant differences of opinion between Democrat and Republican lawmakers on fiscal policy, many in Congress are already admitting they’ll likely need to pass an additional continuing resolution before they reach a final agreement.

As an additional complication, many Democrats are insisting on a legislative fix for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals, who have been living with uncertainty since President Donald Trump announced an end to the program in September, before they will agree to work further on an FY18 budget.

While this short-term resolution will keep the government funded for several more weeks, there are many large and complex questions that will need to be dealt with before a final FY18 budget is passed—and the federal government may be forced to shut down until lawmakers reach agreement.


Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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