Update on FY14 Funding
Congress has spent the past few weeks working to pass legislation providing funding for the 2014 federal fiscal year. As the October 1 deadline looms, it appears possible that there will be at least a short shutdown next week. Last week, the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the coming year at essentially the same levels as FY13 through December 15, 2013. While some conservatives in the House balked at the spending levels, the bill also contains language that would defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obama Care, which drew enough support from the right to move the bill through the House.
However, Senate Democrats have repeatedly said that any legislation that seeks to defund the President’s health care law would be rejected in the Senate. As promised, earlier today Senator Reid brought the House CR to Senate floor for consideration and immediately introduced an amendment replacing the text of the House-passed CR with his own proposal. The Senate includes funding levels in line with the House version, however, as expected, the bill eliminates the language defunding the ACA. It also adjusts the length of the CR, which would run out a full month earlier than the House proposal, on November 15.
Leaders in the House have already promised to amend the Senate-passed CR as soon as it reaches the House, hold a vote and send it back to the Senate, possibly as early as tomorrow. While it’s not clear what language the House will use to amend the Senate bill, it’s likely to be another attempt to defund or delay the ACA, forcing the Senate to decide between supporting the program and shutting down the government on October 1. Given Senator Reid’s strong stance on the ACA, it is becoming increasingly likely that there will be, at least, a short term shut down of the federal government next week as Congress works towards a compromise.
In preparation for the shutdown, Federal agencies began planning furloughs and determining which positions to deem ‘essential’. While official furlough notices would go out on Tuesday, some agencies, including DOT, have already notified employees of who will be furloughed in the event of a shutdown. However, because the MCSAP program is funded through the Highway Trust Fund, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not anticipate an impact to the program.