On Thursday, Congress passed a short term continuing resolution that extends government spending until December 22nd, avoiding a government shut down of essential services.
Each year, Congress must pass their annual appropriations by October 1, the start of the federal government’s fiscal year. These appropriations cover discretionary spending, which includes the funding many nonprofits rely on for program delivery.
This year, like many years, Congress failed to pass the appropriation bills by their deadline, and instead passed a continuing resolution that kept the government open for business while they worked out new spending levels. This latest resolution is another move to buy time while lawmakers hash out the details of the 2018 budget.
Since spending bills are “must pass” items, often both parties use these them as an opportunity to negotiate for other policy priorities, asking for concession in exchange for support of appropriations. This is especially true in the Senate, where bipartisan support is needed to get to the 60 votes necessary to avoid filibuster.
The largest areas of disagreement are centered on finding a legislative solution to protect DACA recipients, as well as how large of a boost there will be to defense spending.
- Democrats are using the budget deadline to force Congress to address the status of DREAMers as soon as possible, while Republicans would like to pass a budget deal now, and separately address the concerns over DACA in the first quarter of 2018.
- Republicans are also asking for an increase in defense spending, while Democrats insist that any increase in defense spending be matched by an equal increase in domestic spending.
The federal budget is crucial to the health of the nonprofit sector and the communities we partner with. MCN and the Minnesota Budget Project continue to express concerns about the effect of such significant spending cuts on essential services and programs.
We urge members of Congress to carefully consider the priorities contained within the budget. Budget cuts hurt us all, threatening values and disrupting communities. Congress should pass a budget that makes strong investments in our communities and strengthens partnerships between nonprofits and government.
Contact your members of Congress now to ask them to make those strong investments and to pass a budget that reflects our values as a sector and as a nation.