For weeks Congress has funded the government through short-term continuing resolutions even though significant progress was being made on a two-year budget agreement that would increase the budget caps for both defense and non-defense spending and provide new infrastructure funding. The decision to proceed with short-term continuing resolutions was a function of Democrats in the House and Senate as well as some Republicans making a final resolution of the larger budget deal contingent on an agreement to resolve the DACA question. It now appears that, at least among Senate Democrats, the precondition that DACA be resolved prior to finalizing the budget deal is slipping. Senate Democrats and Republicans are close to finalizing the two-year budget deal and hope to move that deal through the Senate quickly.
The ultimate fate of this budget deal is unclear. Even if the Senate passes this legislation it is very unlikely that Republicans in the House could round up enough votes to pass it without needing a significant number of Democrat votes. House Democrats have been more strident in their position opposing any government funding legislation absent a simultaneous resolution of DACA. Further, the budget deal likely will not provide significant funding for a border wall. This raises questions about whether the President will support this budget deal.
What Employers Should Expect
Expect this debate to be extremely volatile over the next several days as the various competing interests among different factions in Congress and in the Administration stake out positions on how to fund the government and its relationship to the immigration debate.
Warren S. Payne is a senior advisor in Mayer Brown’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Tax, Government Relations & Public Law and International Trade practices. He joined Mayer Brown from the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, where he held a number of staff leadership roles over eight years, including his most recent position as policy director.