Focus in the nation’s capitol is turning to the continuing resolution needed to prevent a government as appropriations bills, including the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, remain unpassed.
A continuing resolution continues funding from the previous year’s appropriations, extending the period of time for to set the new budget, according to USC Aiken Political Science Professor Dr. Steven Millies,
“The idea is, so far as possible, to permit the federal budget to continue operating at 100 percent, or as close as possible, like 70 percent, of previous budget funding,” he said.
If a continuing resolution isn’t passed to continue funding the federal government, the nation could face a federal government , similar to the in 2013.
Millies said the economic impact of a government can quickly trickle down into communities with large government employment, such as a military base or federal operations like the Savannah River Site.
“In the event of , what would happen is a furlough for all but essential personnel who report to work on promise of payment later,” he said. “It means workers won’t be working even though they are technically still employed. There are large downstream costs.”
In 2013, the government extended 10 days, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Since 1976, the report states there has been 18 total , most of which only lasted one or two days.
“Historically, a continuing resolution is not uncommon,” Millies said. “We’ve gotten used to this being a crisis because crises have become more common in the recent past. The continuing resolutions were a part of normal business in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But polarized politics have turned it into a crisis because of threats of filibuster and government .”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday said in a statement he doesn’t plan to vote for a continuing resolution, which he said, “does not contain a fix for the Export-Import (EX-IM) Bank.”
The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S.
“We are losing American jobs to foreign competitors for no good reason,” he said. “EX-IM Bank has received strong bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and Senate. It’s past time we fix this problem and allow the Bank to operate as intended.”
Controversy surrounding the EX-IM Bank isn’t anything new, according to Millies.
“It’s been in need of restructuring for awhile,” he said. “What is significant, though, is that Sen. Graham said he wouldn’t vote for the continuing resolution, but he did not say he would filibuster. A continuing resolution can pass with a simple majority so long as there isn’t a senator who filibusters.”
Millies said he expects a continuing resolution to be in place before Oct. 1, which is the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year.
He added it can’t be overlooked that this year is an election year and factors such as federal land management out west and environmental conservation topics — including federal protections for endangered species such as the greater sage-grouse — are important, especially for legislators up for re-election. In an election year, not only are legislators headed out to the campaign trail, but goes into recess before elections take place.
Millies said he would expect to pick the appropriations bills back up after elections are over to get a solidified budget in place for 2017.
Thomas Gardiner covers energy, science and government topics for the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @TGardiner_AS.
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