NAICU Washington Update

Continuing Resolution Needed to Avoid Government Shutdown

September 09, 2022

Congress has one job it must do before the end of September – keep the government open and avoid a shutdown. However, since the House and Senate have not completed work on the dozen individual appropriations bills, they will need to agree on the make up of a continuing resolution (CR) before they can go home to campaign for the mid-term elections. 

The House is expected to act first, with a CR funding the government at current levels through December 16. If the House can pass its version the week of September 12, the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass a funding bill, will have more time to work out negotiations to garner 10 Republican votes for passage. 

Passing a CR is not necessarily a straight-forward process. With little legislative action expected between now and the November elections, movement of a must-pass bill attracts unrelated proposals. Such proposals include supplemental funding, expiring legislation, and controversial riders.

Supplemental funding is often included in a CR. This year, in addition to regular funding for the government, the White House has requested the CR include $47.1 billion in supplemental funds for assistance to Ukraine, additional COVID relief, support for the domestic energy supply, and disaster aid for recent floods. While many of these provisions are non-partisan, Republican leaders have responded to the request by saying it is too much spending and that they want a “clean CR.” 

Extending authority for legislation expiring on September 30, is also regularly attached to a CR. This year, such legislation includes Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the National Flood Insurance Program, and a long list of other expiring legislation across multiple agencies. 

The more controversial riders being discussed include codifying the Supreme Court decisions in support of same-sex marriage, which the House has already passed, and allowing pipeline permits for natural gas.  The pipeline permits are a provision Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was promised a vote on in return for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act this summer. These two riders in particular could hold up Senate agreement for weeks. 

All of these issues will overshadow the underlying need to finalize FY 2023 funding government-wide, which will not be negotiated until a post-election lame-duck session.  For student aid and institutional aid funding, NAICU continues to advocate for doubling the Pell Grant maximum to $13,000, significantly increasing the other student aid programs, which work together as a package to help low-income students pay for college, and significant increases across all Title III and V programs to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Strengthening Institutions Programs, and all Minority-Serving Institutions. 

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