U.S. House Passes a Second Short-term Budget Bill to Fund the Government through December 20th

Published: November 19, 2019

BudgetPolicy and Legislation

The Senate is expected to pass and the President is to sign the second stopgap funding bill for fiscal year 2020, averting a shutdown for now.

The US House of Representatives has passed another continuing resolution (CR) that would continue to fund federal operations at fiscal year (FY) 2019 levels for another month. The Senate is expected to pass the bill in the next day or two and President Trump has signaled that he will sign the bill into law.

A first CR that passed at the end of September funded the government through November 21. This second stopgap spending bill funds federal agencies through December 20, allowing another month for the budget negotiators to reach a deal on the total FY 2020 appropriations bills. 

Of the 12 yearly appropriations bills the House has passed 10 and the Senate has passed four, but they have not yet reached final agreements on any of them. Among the biggest issues of disagreement is the Trump Administration’s priority of building a border security wall.

According to the latest CR released by the House Appropriations Committee Democrat leaderships, the new CR includes both a handful of new provisions as well as extensions of funding that was provided in FY 2019 into FY 2020 to sustain select priorities.

FY 2019 funding extensions include:

  • Census Bureau funding to support the 2020 Census
  • Indian Health Service funding increases to sustain increases in the number of facilities
  • Funds to respond to the Ebola outbreak in Africa
  • Health and Human Services Extenders that sustain numerous provisions and programs in public health, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.

Additional provisions include:

  • A 3.1% pay raise in 2020 for active-duty military
  • Maintains the current caseload in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • Allows the Department of the Interior to sustain the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program
  • Appropriates a death gratuity of $174,000 to the widow of the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings
  • Technical provisions that delay any discretionary sequestration until all full-year funding bills are in place and that rolls forward any budgetary totals on the statutory Pay-As-You-Go scorecards to the 2nd session of the 116th Congress.

Déjà vu from FY 2019?

It seems the latest cycle of CRs bears a striking resemblance to last year’s FY 2019 budget squabbles. A report by The Hill noted that last year, a 35-day shutdown began when Trump threatened to veto a CR over wall funding just ahead of Christmas. We will just have to wait and see if the pattern fully repeats itself.