Federal Budget Discussion Urgent as FY17 Deadline Quickly Approaches

Congress is just wrapping up their recess. Once they return, first on their agenda is the April 28th deadline looming on the FY17 budget. There is no more funding for the government after April 28, so they need to pass either a full budget to fund the government through FY17 (Sept 30), or pass another continuing resolution. Many nonprofits rely on federal funding and are concerned about what this may mean for them.

No surprise, the biggest asks are going to be around funding to build a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States, defunding planned parenthood, and, especially with increased action in Syria, an increase in military spending. Here’s the thing though: unlike healthcare, they do need 60 votes, so cooperation is required. Here’s what we’ve heard:

  • Speaker Ryan says publicly this the FY17 budget is not the vehicle to have a huge fight.
  • Freedom Caucus members have publicly stated that there will not be a shut down over the FY17 budget, but have also stressed that there should be universal support for funding for the wall and increased military spending.
  • Democratic leadership says that they want a clean bill – free of policy riders or any other spending issues.
  • And President Trump has said that funding for a wall as part of FY17 is essential.

Bottom line is that a shutdown over FY17 is highly unlikely, as is any sort of major fighting. Certainly nobody wants to be blamed for a shutdown and there are too many other more important fights looming to prioritize this one. Whether or not they’ll get it together for anything more than a CR is unclear, or any spending cuts, we’ll see! But, I don’t anticipate too many disruptions for nonprofits as part of the FY17 budget process.

Alternatively, bottom line is that things may get really ugly for the FY17 budget. It feels like leadership is very clear about wanting to pass pretty clean bills without too much trouble here, knowing what is coming. But, it appears like not everyone is as interested in a compromise. So, of course, anything is always possible!

Either way, raising your voice, telling your stories, speaking from your values and mission - all of that continues to be essential. If you have any questions about how to connect with your federal representatives, please check out our advocacy resources page to learn more!


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