CHN: FY17 Appropriations and FY18 Budget Expected to Move Again
With a budget director in place in the Trump Administration, work on Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations and a Fiscal Year 2018 budget is expected to move forward after the Presidents’ Day recess (for more on Mick Mulvaney’s confirmation, see the related article in this Human Needs Report). The current Continuing Resolution (CR) through which the government is funded runs through April 28, and Congress and the Administration will need to work together on a plan to keep the government open the remainder of FY17 while also working on the FY18 budget and spending bills. For FY17, only one of the 12 required bills, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, has been signed into law. It is unclear if Congress will try to pass the 11 remaining appropriations bills either individually, in small groups, or in one large group, known as an omnibus spending bill. If members cannot come to agreement on detailed funding decisions, they may opt to extend the current Continuing Resolution through September, keeping most funding levels flat. They could also do some combination of these options. Any FY17 appropriations bills would need a minimum of 60 votes to pass the Senate.
The White House is also expected to submit requests to Congress soon for additional funds to begin building the wall President Trump wants along the U.S.-Mexico border and for additional defense spending. For more information, see the related article in this Human Needs Report.
The Trump Administration is expected to submit a preliminary FY18 budget (also called a “skinny budget”) to Congress in mid-March. This rough outline of tax and spending priorities is expected to be followed by a more detailed budget later in the spring. Advocates are concerned about reports that say budget proposals from Trump may be similar to that from the Heritage Foundation, which would make unprecedented cuts, slashing Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare, Head Start, and other critical human needs programs. The New York Times reported that the White House Office of Management and Budget has compiled an initial list of smaller programs it would eliminate, many of them perennial targets of right wing budget plans. The list is said to include the Legal Services Corporation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for National and Community Service (which includes AmeriCorps), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Low income advocates have fought off attacks on the Legal Services Corporation and AmeriCorps in the past; this year, with many more programs expected to be under siege, it will be an especially difficult battle.