Government Relations Update November 2018
Government Funding Confrontation Looms
Fiscal Year 2019 began on October 1 of this year. However, Congress was only able to pass five of the normal 12 appropriations bills in time. As a result, the portions of the government funded by the remaining seven bills received only temporary funding. These bills include Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior and Environment; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and HUD.
On December 7, 2018, the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 6157) funding much of the federal government in these areas will expire. As of December 5, no additional bills have been passed by either house of Congress, though progress has been made on six of the seven bills. Despite this progress, concerns of a potential government shutdown have grown. Leaders in Congress continue to work towards potential solutions and a deal has been reached on a two-week funding extension. Despite this development, a government shutdown remains a possibility in the near future.
Power Shifts in Congress on the Horizon
Changes in Washington brought about by the midterm elections are beginning to take shape. Both parties have worked through the leadership election process in each house of Congress and leaders of committees, both new and old, have begun to prepare for the beginning of the 116th Congress. The exact details of legislative priorities for each body and each party are still in development, but infrastructure is expected to be an early focus, especially among House Democrats. The new Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2019.