New CR Stops Government Shutdown
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) met with President Trump to resume budget negotiations and pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) beyond the Friday, December 8 deadline for the current CR. The meeting was a “do-over” from last week’s meeting that the two minority leaders boycotted in response to a Trump tweet. The CR keeps spending at last year’s levels. House Republicans proposed to include the FY2018 Defense spending bill with the CR, but Senate Democrats balked. The House, on a mostly partisan rollcall (235-193), passed the CR without any amendments. This extends government operations until December 22, 2017. The Senate quickly passed the House CR (81-14), avoiding a government shutdown.
To date, Congress has been unable to lift or eliminate spending caps (sequestration) enacted on Defense spending in 2011. Legislators have temporarily lifted spending caps several times since 2013 but Democrats and Republicans argue whether Defense spending increases should be matched with non-defense spending increases. Sequestration mandates a more than $75 billion cut in the FY2018 Defense Authorization bill (H.R.2810) that recently passed Congress and was presented to the President on November 30, to sign into law or veto.
FRA has long sought to exclude the Defense Department from sequestration and encourages its members to use the FRA Action Center to ask their legislators to exclude Defense spending from sequestration.