Will the Government Shut Down at the End of This Week?
We have reached the final work week during which Congress will need to come to an agreement on funding the government or enter a shutdown.
We noted last week that House Speaker Johnson (R-LA) was considering three options for developing a continuing resolution (CR):
- A clean CR (no provisions attached)
- A CR that includes policy provisions such as immigration reform, spending cuts, and funding for Israel or Ukraine
- A ladder CR, which would extend government funding for each agency for different periods of time
Over the weekend, Speaker Johnson announced that he had selected the ladder approach. The CR proposal includes a tiered approach with a funding deadline of January 19, 2024, for four of the simpler appropriations bills and another deadline of February 2, 2024, for the other eight bills, including the Defense, Labor and HHS appropriations bills.
For healthcare, a few provisions would be extended through January 19, including funding for community health centers, teaching health centers and the National Health Service Corps, and the Special Diabetes programs; delays in cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals; and funding for some public health programs, including the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act. The proposal also includes a CR for the Farm bill through September 30, 2024, retroactively applicable from the beginning of the current fiscal year. Money for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the US border have been left out of this package.
Speaker Johnson has indicated that if this plan does not succeed in the Rules Committee, he will move to the option of a clean CR to hopefully get through December and January without a shutdown.
If the proposal survives the Rules Committee, Speaker Johnson will likely still need at least some Democrats to vote for the plan because several Republicans have already indicated that they do not agree with this approach.