Will a Recess Week Get Us Closer to a Funding Deal?
The House and Senate are both out this week, but the work continues behind the scenes. The deadline to fund the government, either through a continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus, is fast approaching. By February 18, Congress must pass one of those options to avert a government shutdown. While no one expects the government to shut down, it is still unclear whether we will end up with a CR or an omnibus. And then there’s a third option: a short-term CR that provides a few more weeks for a deal on an omnibus to be reached.
We also still await a clear sign on a potential supplemental relief bill that could contain additional funding for COVID-19 and natural disaster relief. To have a chance of passing, any supplemental bill would have to include both Democratic and Republican priorities. We anticipate such legislation would include both healthcare and economic priorities, such as funding to address healthcare staff shortages and expand testing capacity, along with new funds for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
We will also briefly mention the other major pending healthcare question: what, if anything, will happen with the Build Back Better Act? In some ways, the Senate may be even further from a deal than it was before Christmas, given that the last few weeks have increased tensions in the Democratic caucus. It remains to be seen whether any of the provisions will be pulled out and passed separately, and if so, when that might happen.
Bottom line: We need to see some movement on funding the government in the next week or two.
As Congress is on recess this week, work continues on funding the government beyond the February 18th deadline. Leaders connected last week to begin bipartisan talks. Meg Gilley and Amy Kelbick outline the possible steps ahead to avoid a government shutdown by passing a cross-party spending agreement.