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Passage of Omnibus Budget Bill Shows Congress Did Its Job

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Washington, D.C.– Congress did its job in passing an omnibus spending package that funds the federal government through September 30, the end of FY2017. It averted having to take another short-term stopgap measure when the continuing resolution expired.

The next big budget challenge will now be passing legislation to fund the government for FY2018, which starts October 1.

“Just two weeks ago, it looked like we were barreling toward a government shutdown,” Shai Akabas, BPC’s director of fiscal policy, said. “Tireless efforts led to a constructive bipartisan agreement that protects important programs like federal disaster relief and avoids dangerous reductions in funding for our armed forces. In other words, Congress did its job.”

Tireless efforts led to a constructive bipartisan agreement that protects important programs like federal disaster relief and avoids dangerous reductions in funding for our armed forces.

Today’s bipartisan agreement averted the need to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, for the remainder of the fiscal year. In recent years, continuing resolutions have frequently taken the place of annual appropriations bills, with Congress passing at least one continuing resolution every year since 1997.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff testified earlier this year that continuing resolutions hamper the military’s ability to effectively operate and prepare for potential threats. In addition, the Government Accountability Office has reported that continuing resolutions contribute to increased employment and contracting costs at non-defense agencies.

“It’s clear that these ongoing continuing resolutions are a barrier to federal agencies operating efficiently and effectively, and hopefully FY2018 will not be the 21st straight fiscal year in which such temporary stopgap measures are used,” Akabas said. “Lurching from one funding bill to the next also detracts attention from our country’s significant long-term budget challenges.”

Shai Akabas is available for comment

KEYWORDS: 115TH CONGRESS, FY 2017, FY2018, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, SHAI AKABAS