(Updated Oct. 1)
As of Oct. 1, Congress has again missed its deadline to pass necessary appropriation bills to fund the federal government for the new fiscal year. Instead, a continuing resolution (CR) will provide stopgap funding for government activities through Dec. 11. The House had no problem passing the measure with a 359-57 vote on Sept. 22; the Senate followed suit the evening of Sept. 30 with an 84-10 vote. The president then signed the CR into law.
Without funds from the CR, federal agencies would shut down at the start of FY 2021. As you may remember, shutdowns greatly hinder agencies like DoD and others employing uniformed service personnel in executing their missions; ultimately, they lead to furloughing non-excepted personnel. The last funding gap that lead to a government shutdown lasted 34 days, from Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019.
[DONATE NOW: MOAA's COVID-19 Relief Fund]
So what does this CR, H.R. 8337, do?
It will fund programs and activities at FY 2020 levels, and it will extend several authorities and programs, including:
- Medicare Part B premium adjustments, and other Medicare and Medicaid-related authorities and programs.
- Authorities related to veterans’ benefits.
- Nutrition programs for children, to include some eligibility waivers and modifications related to school and child care closures.
- Authorities related to immigration.
MOAA appreciates elected officials securing short-term funding to avoid a costly government shutdown, but we urge Congress to get back to regular order and ensure predictable and timely funding of our government activities – and stop the habitual use of CRs in lieu of a full federal budget.
Those in uniform and their families count on their government to support them as they serve. They need Congress to push forward on passing a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), backed up by full appropriations, so they can do their job without delays.
But the congressional track record on this issue is abysmal – you can see for yourself via this Congressional Research Service website that tracks the dozens of CRs in place since 1999. Something needs to change.
In the coming weeks, as we track what may be on the horizon for the new Dec. 11 deadline, we need members and other readers to let their elected officials know that short-term budgets are unacceptable. Your voice, and our collective efforts, make a difference.