Federal Relations

December 7, 2016

CR Released, Should Pass This Week

The continuing resolution (CR) was released late last night. The text of the legislation is here. The big news is that the CR will fund the federal government through April 28, 2017. The legislation maintains the current budget cap level of $1.07 trillion put into place under the Budget Control Act of 2011, which results in an across the board cut of .1901%.

The House is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday and the Senate is expected to follow suit on Friday. 

Big Items of Note: 

The Defense Overseas Contingency Fund, which is not subject to budget caps, was increased by $8 billion in response to the Administration’s request to combat ISIS. Of note, the Administration asked for $11.6 billion.  The CR increase does include RDT&E funding that is related to the Global War on Terrorism and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund received a $87M increase.  The funding will go to both defense-specific funding to combat ISIS as well as non-military spending — such as Humanitarian Assistance, State Department and USAID operations funding, Economic and Stabilization Assistance, and Embassy security funding — to combat ISIS. 

The CR does add funding in FY 2017 to accounts created and highlighted in the Cures bill for opioids, NIH and FDA initiatives, and Flint drinking water. The Cures funding is fully offset per the authorizing bill. Specifically, the totals for the year amount to: 

  • $500 million in grants to states to fight opioid abuse, 
  • $352 for the new NIH Innovations Fund (as created by Cures), 
  • $20 million directed to the FDA Innovation account (as created by cures), and  
  • $50 million is directed to HHS to address health issues relating to a lead-tainted drinking water system in Michigan. 

There is a provision to address President-elect Trump’s Secretary of Defense nominee, Ret. USMC Gen. James. Mattis, who left service three years ago. Under a 1947 federal statute, Secretaries of Defense must be civilians or retired from service for at least 7 years to be eligible to serve; its an effort to assure civilian control of the military. This requirement has been waived once in 1950 for General George C. Marshall. 

Other Items of Note:

There is additional funding to allow continued operations and data collection for continuation of data for weather warnings, including forecasts of severe weather events from NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System.

There is a provision allowing additional funding, if needed, for the housing and care of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) after February 1, 2017. The number of UACs has been spiking as of late and was an issue for the FY2017 appropriations cycle. Of note, this funding comes from the Labor-H appropriations bill. 

Additional updates will be posted on our blog.