House and Senate Republican leaders continue to negotiate the duration of an FY17 continuing resolution (CR). The current CR expires next Friday, December 9. House Republicans had initially planned to fund the government through March 31, 2017, but Republicans in the Senate argued for a later date in order to accommodate their busier schedule, which will include new administration confirmations and a Supreme Court confirmation. Latest indications point to an April 28, 2017 end date for the CR. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said that a CR until next spring effectively guarantees another CR in March/April/May that extends appropriations through the remainder of FY17 (September 30, 2017).
In addition to how long the CR will last, negotiators are discussing whether the CR will have a topline of $1.07T (agreed to in the budget deal) or $1.067T (the FY16 limit) and what “anomalies” will be included in the final package. Under a CR, no new programs may be started, nor can programs increase or decrease their spending. Anomalies are exceptions to this rule.
Earlier this week the Comptroller at the Department of Defense sent a list of the agency’s highest priorities for the CR and FY17 National Defense Authorization Act to House and Senate appropriators and authorizers. The priorities include, in order of importance, programs to: counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, start procuring new Ohio Class ballistic missile subs, build more KC-46 tanker planes and critical munitions (Hellfire, JDAMs, and Small Diameter Bombs), fund Afghan security forces, increase funding for Army O&M to be used both overseas and stateside, provide multiyear procurement authority for the Apache helicopter, reauthorize certain military bonuses and benefits that expire on January 1, 2017, and increase spending for the European Reassurance Initiative.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during her weekly news conference today that she understands the text of the CR will be ready on Monday. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on the floor today that he hopes to finish the CR and all other matters before the House by Thursday, December 8.