On September 22, Congressional leaders agreed to the short-term reauthorization bill introduced by Democrats on September 18. The next fiscal year (FY21) begins October 1, signaling the annual expiration of multiple laws that provide the funding of federal programs and entities.
Originally intended to be developed and voted on annually, the federal budget has relied on short-term “continuing resolutions” to avoid government shutdowns in recent years. The resolution extends funding levels from the previous year, with few additions and no adjustment for inflation.
The FAST Act, the Obama administration’s 5-year transportation reauthorization bill, also happens to expire this September. To avoid a lapse in funding for crucial grant programs funded by the Department of Transportation, Democrats have included a 1-year extension of the FAST Act with the continuing resolution. Outside of transportation funding, the resolution would only provide for short-term funding.
- Stop-gap measure to avoid government shutdown
- Allows federal agencies to use funding levels from FY20 through extension
- Democrats may push for extension through January 2021.
- $10.4 Billion to Highway Trust Fund
- $3.2 Billion to Transit Trust Fund
- Extension to end of September 2021.
The bill also includes an extension to fund the vital National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until September 30th 2021.
Lawmakers in the Senate have indicated that they generally support the stop-gap measure. Congress will have until October 1st to hold a vote that avoids a government shutdown. The continuing resolution is expected to be a “clean” bill which means there will be no amendments allowed. This means GFOA priorities like Advance Refunding, despite successful inclusion in the transportation reauthorization passed by the House several months ago, will likely need to find another legislative vehicle before the end of 2020.