By Mark Riso, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Congress (and the President) have until December 7 to pass (and sign), a federal budget – or face a partial government shutdown. We’ve been at this point many times as a nation – and typically the issues are politically energized. The current issues (obstacles) are very clear in this budget process to complete a successful budget. The most visible issue (and perhaps most politicized) is funding for the proposed U.S.-Mexico “wall.” Congress (Republicans and Democrats) has assured that it will provide $1.6 billion for border security; however, the President is requesting $5 billion for the wall. (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/21/trump-border-wall-congress-government-shutdown-1009349). Remember – with a new Democratic House, this next budget negotiation may be the President’s last chance to fulfill the “wall” campaign promise.
The nation is impacted in several ways if the government shuts down, although the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education and Veterans Affairs are already funded until October 2019. Several appropriations are under consideration including funding for agriculture, financial services and general government, interior and the environment, and transportation, housing and urban development. Funding for commerce, justice and science as well as homeland security will be obstacles.
More specifically for contractors, if a shutdown continues for over a week, government contractors several issues including unpaid invoices and proposals not receiving timely review. This begins to snowball as those contractors could start to lay off employees. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-a-looming-government-shutdown-could-affect-federal-services-and-stocks-2018-11-28). All in all, the budget battles will take-up most of the news coming out of Capitol Hill next week and PHCC will keep members up-to-date.
Vice President of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association