Several key dates loom for the year-end legislative process on Capitol Hill, with MOAA and other advocacy groups paying close attention to the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and ongoing budget negotiations, including the likely need for continuing resolutions.
Sept. 12: The first day both the House and Senate will be in session after the August work period. Senators returned to Washington on Sept. 5, but many of the issues facing both chambers will require bicameral action, including the assignment of conferees to the committee tasked with ironing out differences between the NDAA versions.
Sept. 30: While the NDAA provides long-term direction for defense matters, the funding also must be appropriated. An additional layer of urgency, exacerbated by fiscal wrangling, comes at the end of the fiscal year, which falls on Sept. 30. For the smooth continuation of government, appropriations bills or other legislative measures must be passed and signed into law before this deadline. Failure to do so can result in disruptions to services, furloughs for federal employees, and other unintended consequences.
Congress often grapples with budgetary challenges that necessitate temporary funding solutions. Continuing resolutions, or CRs, emerge as a stopgap measure to avert government shutdowns by extending funding at current levels for specific government agencies or programs. These CRs are essential tools to sustain government operations while legislators negotiate broader spending bills.
Dec. 14: The last scheduled day the House will be in session this calendar year, with the Senate set to leave town the following day. Past sessions have been extended to address the NDAA and other outstanding legislative priorities. Mid-December also may be a key date for the House, with leadership proposing any CRs expire by that timeframe.
Dec. 31: The NDAA has been one of the most reliable pieces of legislation to be passed by Congress, becoming law 62 consecutive years. However, as more issues are included in the legislation, the bill has passed later and later each year, drawing more and more scrutiny from both sides of the aisle.
Why watch for Dec. 31? Passing a bill before that date would prevent many of the bonus authorities from expiring, and would give DoD officials at least some time to address deadlines contained in the legislation.
[RELATED: Learn What’s in This Year’s NDAA]
As these important dates approach, it becomes imperative for stakeholders like MOAA and others to closely monitor the progress of the NDAA, CRs, and related legislative activities. The impact of these bills is felt not only within the halls of government but also across the nation — jeopardizing our nation's security, economy, and critical public services.
Ultimately, understanding these dates and their implications empowers citizens to engage with their elected legislators, advocating for outcomes aligned with one’s concerns and priorities.
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