Shutdown avoided, but new fiscal year brings uncertainty for federal agencies’ funding

Shutdown avoided, but new fiscal year brings uncertainty for federal agencies’ funding


10月. 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year for the federal government. 此时此刻, 国会 is supposed to have approved funding for the approximately one-third of federal spending that relies on the annual appropriations process.  

However, 国会 has yet again missed the deadline to 通过任何一项开支法案 that set the overall annual budget for most federal agencies 和 determine which new or existing programs get funded. This nearly resulted in a government shutdown, which would have harmed the public, our economy 和 federal employees

To prevent the shutdown, 国会 passed a 45-day continuing resolution, or CR, on Sept. 30. While a continuing resolution may seem like a decent reprieve that gives 国会 time to determine spending levels for agencies, it creates an uncertain fiscal environment that prevents our government from making long-term decisions, 和 in some cases more immediate ones, on the programs 和 services that Americans rely upon.  

A continuing resolution is not the answer 

A continuing resolution is a temporary measure that freezes spending funded by annual appropriations at current levels for the duration of the CR. At some point within the current 45-day window, 国会 must either pass appropriations or another CR, 否则政府将面临关门的风险.  

根据一项持续决议, our government must wait to take new actions to address urgent national priorities 和 is often limited in managing critical hiring 和 travel needs.  

Long-term planning 和 the strategic use of taxpayer dollars, 为联邦机构提供资金, 跌倒在路边. Innovation 和 modernization are nearly impossible when agencies don’t know what their budget will ultimately be, when they will get that budget or if they will be able to adjust programs to meet changes in spending priorities.  

While agencies have plans in place to continue their work during CRs, continual shutdown threats mean employees must spend 越来越多的时间 building contingency plans for when services cease 和 less time actually delivering those services. Applicants also may hesitate to look for federal work with another shutdown on the horizon, 一个潜在的 寒蝉效应 on our government’s ability to recruit young people into an increasingly aging workforce.  

Private sector companies would be unlikely to succeed under these fiscal 和 strategic planning realities. Unfortunately, they have become the norm for federal agencies.  


With stark differences in spending priorities between the House 和 Senate, 和 between Democrats 和 Republicans, it seems unlikely that all the appropriations bills will make it through the legislative process in the next 45 days. 另外, 国会 has other big issues to address, such as the National Defense Authorization legislation 和 solidifying around a new House speaker, that put pressure on the legislative calendar.  

There’s a chance that 国会 may fund some but not all agencies, leaving the possibility of another short-term CR on the table. 如果过去十年有任何迹象的话, agencies may face one or more CRs through the end of the calendar year while 国会 works on an omnibus spending package to fund agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year.  
国会可以做出 一些变化 to efficiently fund federal agencies 和 prevent future shutdowns. But that is a longer-term conversation. The best outcome in the meantime would be for 国会 to pass all appropriations bills so that agencies can get on with the business of providing critical services to the public.