It is nearly impossible to have a discussion regarding policies, budgets, or appropriations without the pandemic 5-meter target eclipsing all other subjects. But we must find a way past that target to address significant challenges that lie beyond – specifically, funding our government to avoid another shutdown.
And the window of opportunity to act is narrowing. MOAA needs your help to engage your members of Congress to look over the near horizon toward what could be the next crisis – funding the government while simultaneously responding to COVID-19.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmaker to Ensure Full Funding for FY 2021]
There are only 38 days when both the House and Senate are in session between June 1 and the end of September, when funding runs out. There are five more House-only days and 16 Senate-only days. And the national party conventions (July 13-16 for the Democrats, Aug. 24-27 for the Republicans) will compete for time and attention beyond those scheduled sessions, not to mention a robust summer and fall campaign right up to the Nov. 3 elections.
While efforts are underway to draft a National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 and other bills – all of which are also competing with the pandemic’s demand signal – there is little visibility to date on efforts to appropriate funds for the next fiscal year. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, reportedly has indicated he will energize the process following the Memorial Day weekend.
As you may recall, funding our government over the past few years has been a challenge, lowlighted by the government shutdown from Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019. Currently, all of our uniformed services are funded by these two pieces of legislation, both of which have funds ending Sept. 30:
- The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1158, signed Dec. 20, 2019, into Public Law 116-93) funds DoD, the Commerce Department (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard).
- The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865, signed Dec. 20, 2019, into Public Law 116-94) funds the Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. Public Health Service), military construction, and the VA.
We must find a way to start the narrative beyond the shadows of the current pandemic. Please reach out to your representative and senators now.