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House, Senate at Impasse to Prevent Partial Government Shutdown

December 21, 2018—The House and Senate continue to reconcile efforts to pass a stopgap measure to avoid a partial government shutdown. As of press time Dec. 21, lawmakers appeared to be at an impasse, with the president and House Republicans insisting that funding be included for construction of the president’s proposed border security wall, and insufficient votes in the Senate to approve such funding.

The Senate Dec. 19 passed a Continuing Resolution (CR, H.R. 695) by voice vote to provide appropriations at the fiscal year (FY) 2018 levels through Feb. 8, 2019 for the seven appropriations bills that have not been enacted for FY 2019. Under the Dec. 7 CR, funding will expire at midnight on Dec. 21 [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 7].

Agencies funded by the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill – including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, among other HHS agencies – are not affected. However, the Food and Drug Administration (which is funded in the Agriculture spending bill), National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies would be subject to the shutdown or any subsequent stopgap measures that Congress considers.

President Trump Dec. 20 announced that he would not support the Senate-passed CR since it did not include funding for the southern border wall. Following this announcement, the House passed an amended CR along party lines, 217-185, that includes $5.7 billion for border security and about $8 billion in disaster aid.

Senators Dec. 21 began the process of considering the House version of the CR after Senate Republican leaders met with the president, but at press time had not secured the simple majority needed to move forward with the measure. The stalemate heightened expectations that a shutdown could be likely.

In addition to continuing funding levels, the Senate-passed CR also includes temporary funding extensions for several other programs, including the Conrad 30 program for international medical school graduates, the Medicaid Money Follows the Person demonstration, and two expiring provisions of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. It does not include the Advancing Care for Exception Kids Act (ACE Kids, H.R. 3325), which the House recently passed [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 14], or a full reauthorization of PAHPA [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 7]. The House Dec. 20 voted separately, however, to advance the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 (H.R. 7328) by a vote of 367-9, with press reports suggesting the potential for the Senate to follow suit.



Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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