The House Appropriations Committee has prepared a 2-½ month funding bill to keep the federal government open for business from October 1st through December 15th. However, the nonprofit research group Bipartisan Policy Center warned that the nation could run out of borrowing power no later than November 5th.
The short-term continuing resolution measure allows the Department of Defense to spend at fiscal 2013 levels, but it prohibits starting new weapons programs or increasing the rate of production.
[pullquote]Without a long-term solution to the budget, agencies and contractors’ future decision-making power will continue to be handcuffed. In other words, Congress continues to put Band-Aids on what has already become a festering wound. [/pullquote]Without a long-term solution to the budget, agencies and contractors’ future decision-making power will continue to be handcuffed. In other words, Congress continues to put Band-Aids on what has already become a festering wound.
As keynote at the Intelligence National Security Alliance IC summit last week, Director of National Intelligence (IC) James Clapper warned that sequestration could reduce the capability of IC to do its job. This could result in agencies assuming larger risk, affecting national security.
Meanwhile, Judge John Bates, secretary of the Judicial Conference of the United States wrote a letter to the Obama administration pleading against further cuts in fiscal 2014. Sequestration has already cost the courts almost $350 million, which has also forced steep cuts to drug and mental health treatment, federal indigent defense initiatives and GPS monitoring. Bates warned that a hard freeze at current levels in 2014 would further diminish “all facets of court operations.”
In terms of the sequestration battle, military families are beginning to have a larger voice. Earlier this week, a group from the National Military Family Association (NMFA) visited all 535 members of Congress to urge for long-term solution.
There is hope that a fiscal 2014 deal could be reached after the House of Representatives earlier this week began plenary deliberations of the proposed P2.268-T national budget. However, agencies are already gearing up for a potential shutdown.
It is still too early to see if this, or any other long-term budget solution, will take hold. In the meantime, we wait with baited breath over any resolution to move the government beyond this current impasse. We hope that lawmakers do the right thing, which will is allowing agencies to be funded in ways that continue advancing their missions with complete effectiveness.