September can mean shutdown for appropriators, especially as both parties posture for a critical election. Ferox Strategies Chief of Staff Lucia Alonzo and the homeland security experts at CT Strategies are back with a new client update on the latest in border and homeland security appropriations for the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018!
September brought a flurry of budget and spending activity to Capitol Hill as appropriators raced to finalize federal funding before a critical deadline, the end of fiscal year 2018 on September 30. This deadline always carries the threat of a federal shutdown if appropriators can’t reach agreement; the government already briefly shut down in January 2018 as Congress clashed on immigration policy and President Trump’s promised border wall. For months leading up to the deadline, President Trump threatened another shutdown over his border wall despite congressional Republicans’ worries about the political fallout.
In the end the White House relented and signed off, and appropriators lodged significant victories by passing, new laws in September to fund most federal operations, including defense and domestic priorities like education and health. However, appropriators could not finalize funding for the Department of Homeland Security, setting the agency and several others on a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that will expire on December 7, 2018.
Even before both chambers departed Washington later in September to campaign for the critical November 6 midterms, President Trump and congressional Republicans are again rattling their swords over immigration and border priorities. New shutdown threats rouse the Republican voting base ahead of the midterms, but in truth effects of any shutdown would be muted. Expect the GOP and President Trump to continue their focus on immigration and border security as the election approaches.
When Congress returns in mid-November, they will have only a few weeks to strike another deal to finalize funding for DHS, along with a growing must-do list of other priorities, before the end of the 115th Congress. Republican leaders aren’t ruling out another shutdown fight over a border wall.