December 11, 2015
On Friday, December 11, Congress passed a five-day extension of the previous 10-week extension of last year’s funding bill in order to keep the government open through midnight on Wednesday, December 16. Other than extending the expiration date, the bill, known in Washington as a Continuing Resolution, or CR, makes no changes to FY 2015 funding levels or policy riders.
The leaders of the House and Senate are concurrently negotiating the details of a full funding package for the remainder of FY 2016. However, several major issues continue to vex those discussions, including whether the package will limit the entry of Syrian refugees, prohibit federal research on gun violence, or prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from administering its Clean Water Rule and other environmental regulations. Simultaneously, major negotiations are happening on extending hundreds of billions of dollars in a wide variety of tax breaks.
If House and Senate negotiators are able to agree on all outstanding issues before the new deadline, Congress will likely pass an “omnibus” package, which combines all 12 spending bills into a single package. If they are able to agree to most, but fail to reach agreement on one or more of the individual spending bills, Congress may pass what is known as a “CRomnibus,” which is a combination of new funding legislation and a CR for bills that Congress is unable to finalize. If leadership decides that more time is needed to negotiate a final bill, Congress may pass a third short-term CR.
If all else fails, Congress might pass a full-year continuing resolution, which would simply extend FY 2015 appropriations legislation through the end of FY 2016. In our view and the view of many in Congress, this would be the worst possible outcome, as it would mean that all of the work that appropriators have done to develop spending bills for each of the appropriations subcommittees this year is lost.
Visit our earlier posts for a detailed account of what the individual House and Senate agriculture appropriations bills mean for sustainable agriculture. And stay tuned for more information early next week as Congress moves toward final action for 2015.
Categories: Budget and Appropriations