National Association of Government Contractors

Lame Duck Congress Will Work To Avoid Shutdown

In his first appearance following the midterm election results, President Trump did not rule out the  possibility of a shut-down next month, if certain spending initiatives are not approved. 
Responding to questioning whether the midterm results had impacted his demand that Congress fund the border wall, and whether a shutdown was likely, Trump said, "I can't commit to that, but it's possible." He added that he was "not necessarily" committed to pursuing a shutdown strategy, but reiterated, "We need money to build the wall, the whole wall, not pieces of it."
Some agencies would be unaffected by a shutdown because they've already received appropriations through September 2019. But many others are currently operating under a continuing resolution set to expire Dec. 7.
The departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, and Veterans Affairs received full-year funding through two "minibus" appropriations bills Trump has already signed into law. Others, such as the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice, are currently operating under the stopgap measure. More than 300,000 federal workers would face furloughs in a December shutdown, according to the affected agencies' most recent shutdown plans.
Trump will be working with a divided Congress come January, with Republicans maintaining control of the Senate. The president's party will continue to control both chambers through the current spending battle, however. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday all sides will have to "work together" to avoid an appropriations lapse.
"We need to work this out," McConnell said. "We're going to do the best we can to try to achieve the president's priorities, and hopefully we will not be headed down that path."
Congress faced an easier road to passing spending bills after Trump earlier this year signed a two-year budget deal dramatically increasing spending caps for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The funding measures already signed into law for fiscal 2019 account for 75 percent of annual discretionary spending, the most appropriations allocated on time in 22 years. Lawmakers have not yet raised spending caps instituted under the 2011 Budget Control Act for fiscal 2020, setting up another potential fight for the divided 116th Congress.

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