NAICU Washington Update

FY2008 to Begin Without a Shutdown

October 03, 2007


In anticipation of the beginning of the federal government's fiscal year on Monday, October 1, Congress passed a seven-week continuing resolution to ensure government agencies continue operating despite their appropriations bills being incomplete.

On September 26 and 27, the House and Senate, respectively, passed H. J. Res. 52, a resolution continuing appropriations for all government agencies until November 16, 2007. Agencies are funded at current levels to avoid a government shutdown. The House passed the resolution by a vote of 404 to 14; the Senate by a vote of 94 to 1.

While the House has passed all 12 appropriations bills, the Senate has only passed four. The education appropriations bill passed the House in July. That bill is expected to be debated on the Senate floor the week of October 15. The Senate bill spends $2 billion less than the House bill overall. We will keep NAICU presidents up to date as strategies develop for the Senate floor consideration, and the potential veto battle later this fall.

As you know, President Bush has threatened to veto domestic appropriations bills that exceed his budget request. The education funding bill is the highest - at $10 billion above his request. Congressional leaders floated a strategy last week of bundling the domestic spending bills, which total $23 billion above the president's request, with the administration's war supplemental funding request of $200 billion, to shame him into signing them into law.

However, in a quick battle of press comments, Bush called House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey's (D-Wis.) bluff, saying "If they think that by waiting until just before they leave for the year to send me a bill that is way over budget and thicker than a phone book, [if] they think that's going to force me to sign it, it's not."

How Congress and the White House negotiate these final moves of the budget end game remains to be seen, but we will keep you posted on appropriate actions to take between now and the weekend before Christmas, which most budget watchers believe will be when this will finally all be decided.

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