Delay in FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill?

Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 earlier this year and the President signed it into law on February 9. The bill included an FY2018 continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government through March 23 and raised the spending caps for FY2018 and FY2019. With agreement on the overall spending caps and six weeks to write a final FY18 omnibus spending bill, another CR didn’t seem likely. However, a $3B dispute is currently holding up the final omnibus spending bill.

Republicans and Democrats are disagreeing over the use of $3B in Changes in Mandatory Program Spending (ChIMPS), which is funding that appropriators often dip into to offset raises in discretionary spending. Democrats are pushing to use all $17B ChIMPS allowed under the FY18 budget resolution, while Republicans are holding the line at $14B. In this case, the disagreement is over $3B in mandatory offsets to discretionary spending for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Another potential holdup could be policy riders that are added to the omnibus spending bill. Lawmakers could try to add language on immigration, gun control, health care reform, Planned Parenthood, Russian interference in U.S. elections, aid for Puerto Rico, rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations, barring the government from using taxpayer funds at Trump properties, easing campaign finance rules, and making fixes to the recently passed tax reform.

Appropriators are still aiming to file their FY18 omnibus spending bill by March 14.

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