The House of Representatives and Senate have passed HR 8337, a Continuing Resolution (CR), to provide funding to keep federal agencies running through December 11, 2020, at largely FY 2020 terms and spending levels. The President is expected to sign it before midnight tonight, when the fiscal year ends.
The CR is designed to give Congress leeway to continue negotiating the FY 2021 spending bills even after the beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1, 2020). None of the twelve FY 2021 appropriations bills have been enacted into law, although the House has approved ten of them, including passage of the bill which includes the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not marked up any of its FY 2021 appropriations measures although we understand that they will post proposed spending levels on its website and these will be used as a negotiations marks for conferencing with the House on full year FY 2021 appropriations bills. As Congress is basically out of session until the week following the November 3 election, this important appropriations work will take place during what is termed a “Lame Duck” session.
It has unfortunately become the norm that federal agencies are funded for periods of time under CRs, limiting their ability to plan and requiring their time to constantly reallocate funds. Tribal and tribal organizations are directly affected in the same manner, hence the tribal efforts for enactment of advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service and Indian Affairs budgets.
As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. The bill directs agencies to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuing of projects and activities.
Health Extenders, Including SDPI. The bill extends the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) from its current expiration date of November 30, 2020, to December 11, 2020, – a 12 day extension. The Community Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps are also extended to December 11, 2020.
IHS, BIA, BIE. The bill does not include any specific new funding above FY 2020 levels for the Indian Health Service or Indian Affairs (BIA/BIE).
One-Year Surface Transportation Extension. The CR contains an extension of the current surface transportation authorization (highway bill) at FY 2020 terms and funding levels. The Tribal Transportation Program is among the many programs authorized by the surface transportation authorization. Absent this extension, the current surface transportation authorization was set to expire today. The CR also contains a $13.6 billion transfer from the U.S. Treasury General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund to ensure its solvency this year.
Human Services and Nutrition. Entitlement funding is maintained for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child Care during the CR period. The CR also contains a provision to renew some pandemic-funding for subsidized meals for children who would normally receive them when schools are open and for Food Stamp (SNAP) pandemic-related flexibilities.
Attached is a 9-page summary of the CR prepared by the House Appropriations Committee.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding this Continuing Resolution.