The idea of a government shutdown, which happens when Congress fails to pass the appropriations bills – either individually or part of a package – before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, has become all too normalized. In fact, Congress passing at least one of the 12 appropriations bills before its deadline is now considered a job well done. But this year, things can change.
Of the 12 appropriations bills, the House has passed 5 and the Senate has passed 7, with two more bills expected to clear the chamber this week. While this is a positive step forward, after Labor Day, Congress has only 11 joint days in session to act on the remaining bills, work out any differences between the two chambers, and send all the bills to the president for his signature.
Here’s a look at where the 12 appropriations bills stand:
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Energy and Water Development
Financial Services and General Government
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Importantly, Congress has recognized that the current system is broken and created a Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. And thanks to the bipartisan leadership in the Senate by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congress could still make modern history by passing all appropriations bills by the October 1 deadline for the first time in nearly two decades.
Let’s revitalize this broken process by showing Congress we want this to be the norm. Click here to demand change from your member of Congress.
For an explainer on the appropriations process and budget cycle, click here.