Nov 26

Continuing resolution or spending omnibus?: Afterschool federal funding update

As November ends, Congress has just 12 days before the expiration of the continuing resolution that is currently funding the government on December 8. While there is little time left before this deadline, negotiations continue between House and Senate leadership from both parties with the goal of striking a deal that will raise defense and non-defense spending caps paving the way for a FY 2018 omnibus spending bill.    

Earlier this month Senate Appropriations Committee chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) issued an official statement regarding the committee’s responsibility to fund the government, urging leadership and the White House to make a spending deal as soon as possible. However there are a number of barriers preventing a deal, including final agreement on top level defense and non-defense spending levels, whether to include a bipartisan healthcare subsidy package, funding for the border wall, an agreement on DACA, and other issues.

If Congress does not reach a spending deal this week, they are likely to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would temporarily allow the government to remain open and operating at last year’s funding levels. Many members of Congress want to complete the FY 2018 spending package before the end of the calendar year, while other members – particularly members of the House Republican Study Committee – do not want to be pushed to vote on a final bill while also trying to pass a tax cut bill and another supplemental disaster relief bill by December 31, preferring that the next CR reach into the new year. Even without an extension, the present short-term CR could extend into late December or possibly into January or February, providing additional time to reach a deal. If Congress does not pass a temporary continuing resolution, the government will shut down.

If leadership can broker a spending deal, appropriators will then negotiate individual funding levels for each government program. 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding was set at $1.192 billion by the Senate earlier this fall; however the House has proposed $1.1 billion for Community Learning Centers. While final spending levels will most likely fall within that range, the lower level of $1.1 billion would mean almost 100,000 youth could lose access to programming.

Friends of afterschool can weigh in with Congress here about the importance of federal afterschool funding that provides support for local school and community based organizations that serve almost 1.8 million children.