Congress Agrees on Short-Term Funding Deal
Congress has pushed major budget decisions off until December, which means that lobbying for a moral budget at FCNL's Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute in November is even more critical.
In early September, President Trump and congressional leaders agreed to a clean bill that raises the debt ceiling for three months, keep the government open at current spending levels for three months, and provided an initial down payment of $15 billion for disaster relief from Hurricane Harvey.
What does this mean for the issues FCNL cares about? The biggest takeaway is that this fall just got even more intense.
FCNL's Quaker Public Policy Institute and Annual Meeting, occurring November 2-5, will come during a critical time as members of Congress are negotiating around the budget.
Congress’ “to-do list” by December includes:
- Determining an overall budget agreement that establishes how much money will go to defense spending and how much will go to non-defense spending.
- Decide how much money to allocate each individual federal program, everything from the EPA, the Complex Crises Fund, reentry services for returning citizens, low-income housing assistance, refugee resettlement, education, scientific research, etc. It also includes funding for immigration enforcement, detention, and deportation.
- Raising the debt ceiling again so that the government can pay its bills. If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, the government would default on its obligations, leading to global economic collapse.
- Provide additional disaster relief for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
- Pass an immigration bill that protects DACA recipients.
Other things Congress must do before the end of September include:
- Reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Continue the Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) to Health Insurance Companies that help low-income individuals afford health coverage and provide some stability to the individual health insurance marketplace. Insurers have to set their rates by September 27 for November 1, when the open enrollment period begins. Whether the CSRs are continued makes an enormous difference on what those rates will be and whether people will be able to access and afford coverage.