On September 8, 2017, President Trump signed HR 601, a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily continue FY 2017 terms and conditions through December 8, 2017. Provisions packaged with the CR include a three-month continuation of the suspension of the Nation’s debt ceiling as well as a continuation of emergency firefighting funds for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and an initial package of funding to aid hurricane-impacted communities. A Public Law number has yet to assigned. Enactment of this law frees up Congress to continue consideration of detailed FY 2018 spending bills.
What This Means
During the term of the CR, federal agencies are to operate under the funding levels and instructions provided by PL 115-31, the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus). Given the statutory spending caps in place, tribal-specific programs by and large fared well in FY 2017. For detailed reporting on FY 2017 funding levels and instructions for the Indian Health Service and for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education), see our General Memoranda 17-030 and 17-032, respectively.
What Comes Next?
While the House and Senate worked quickly to put these temporary measures in place, they are moving forward at a more deliberate pace to each develop their own detailed FY 2018 appropriations bills.
So far, the House has passed four of their twelve FY 2018 appropriations bills and is working this week to pass a group of the other eight FY 2018 appropriations bills packaged together as separate, additional divisions to HR 3554 (the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill). The Senate, on the other hand, is considering each FY 2018 appropriations bill individually. Further, not all Senate appropriations bills have been made public yet, including the bill that would provide proposed instructions and funding levels for the IHS and Indian Affairs. The House and Senate may be taking different approaches to moving their FY 2018 appropriations bills forward but by and large, in the bills that have been made public, both bodies have rejected the substantial cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for Indian programs. We understand that the most likely scenario between now and December 8, 2017, is for the House and Senate to each move their versions of appropriations bills forward and then negotiate together to create a detailed FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill to fund the entire federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year. If they do not reach an agreement on an Omnibus or on individual appropriations bills, they will need to pass another temporary CR to avert a federal government shut-down. For detailed reporting on FY 2018 funding levels and instructions proposed by the House Appropriations Committee for the Indian Health Service and for Indian Affairs see our General Memoranda 17-039 and 17-044, respectively.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information about the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution or pending FY 2018 appropriations bills.