It is an interesting time in Washington, a time that comes along only a couple of times in a decade. In a few weeks a new Congress will be sworn in and a new President will be moving into the White House. People all across town are trying to prepare for whatever changes come in the new Trump Administration.
This jockeying extends to the current 114th Congress and the changes from the recent election are impacting how this year finishes. Decisions must still be made about government funding for FY17, which is currently under what's known as a Continuing Resolution (CR). That CR will run out on December 9th, which means that the government will shut down if the deadline isn't extended. Whether to extend the CR and for how long is a decision that will be made by current members of Congress, whether re-elected or not. This is what's known as a "lame duck" session.
Members of Congress will be working in their districts this week, as well as observing Thanksgiving. They will take up this issue of the CR upon their return to DC.House and Senate Republican leadership believes the best course of action is to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) until March 31, 2017, giving the new Congress, and new Republican President the chance to vote on the FY 2017 federal spending.House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) confirmed this approach in a comment the week of 11/13, saying “The bottom line is that we must fulfill our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government, and do right by the taxpayers who have elected us. To this end, my Committee will begin working immediately on a CR at the current rate of funding to extend the operations of our government through March 31, 2017."
So keep an eye out for what happens with the CR in the next few weeks. The battle over FY17 funding issues -- whether now or in the coming session -- will give us a sense of how stormy the relationship between Congress and the incoming administration will be.
-- By Jeff Kratz, Contributing Author, The Sower Group