Following the spirit of the recently concluded Olympic games, the Nation is now in its own sprint through the final turn of fiscal year (FY) 2016 with the Congress having one eye on the November elections and the other, ostensibly, focused on funding the Federal government for fiscal year 2017.
To date, all 12 appropriations bills have been passed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. But, that’s essentially where the process has stalled. As such, many companies and organizations, public and private, and dedicated hard-working Americans are again left awaiting final passage of the 12 annual appropriations bills, which would fund vital government services and programs that advance both our national security and domestic interests.
A “stop-gap” spending measure, otherwise known as a “Continuing Resolution” (CR), will yet again be necessary to keep the government functioning beyond October 1st. It is our expectation that the CR will, at the very least, extend funding for government agencies through the end of calendar year 2016. However, election year politics are likely to add additional complicating, but yet unknown, factors that will likely prevent the appropriations process from moving forward in any substantive way during the lame duck session.
The last two presidential election cycles in 2008 and 2012 left final disposition of the appropriations process unresolved for nearly 6 months, causing important Federal agencies and programs to limp along while also inhibiting future budget planning. This regrettable “norm” is ultimately detrimental to private industry, whose ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit provide the intellectual backbone for the success of thousands of government programs…the very companies McKeon Group is well poised to support.
Until the final gavel drops adjourning the 114th Congress, however, the possibility of final passage of a $1.07 trillion omnibus spending package does remain. But, that scenario seems unlikely as both parties will look to exploit the outcome of November’s elections to impose their priorities, using FY 2017 spending as their first legislative vehicle to do just that. And with the previous two presidential election cycles as a guide, it would be no surprise to see the Congress push final action on FY 2017 funding until well after the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, which could mean a CR through at least March, 2017, if not for the entire fiscal year.
A full-year CR is always viewed by Congress and the invested public as the worst case scenario as it restricts, if not expressly prohibits, access to new opportunities for private industry to further engage and/or introduce themselves and their products/services to the American taxpayer until Congress considers funding for the next fiscal year.
In this uncertain time, though, McKeon Group is uniquely positioned to explore all opportunities to advance client interests for FY 2017, while also establishing our strategic position to move swiftly when the FY 2018 budget, which will include future years’ plans, are finally presented to the American public by the new Administration.