DON’T EXPECT CR CONTENT OR ACTION TILL THE LAST MINUTE
While the government will run out of money in a little over a week, there’s more talk about what could be added to a Continuing Resolution than action to determine what will actually be in it. Senate and House lawmakers are still wrangling over how much aid to Ukraine will be in the measure, whether there will be funding for expedited energy project approvals, and other provisions. Despite the protestations of the Republican Freedom Caucus, it does look like the CR will last until mid-December. What happens then may be partially decided by the outcome of the midterm elections. If Republicans take control of one or more chambers its likely that a new CR would be passed that would last into January, allowing the new Congress to finalize FY’23 appropriations. Some lawmakers in both parties, though, are concerned that such a delay could increase the chances of a year-long CR, something that neither contractors nor their government customers want. In the meantime, all agencies will be covered by the CR. There may or may not be special provisions allowing agencies to start new projects on high-priority issues such as cybersecurity and defense. Congress does sometimes allow carve outs for new starts such as these, despite the general CR prohibition on using such funds for new projects. The partisan nature of today’s legislature, though, makes such action hard to predict. There have been no public discussions in any of the media reports on this topic, though. While no one is seriously discussing the prospect of a government shut-down, one could occur depending on whether the CR contains provisions to expedite energy project reviews. Progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans don’t support this measure, but it was offered as a carrot to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in order to get his support for other legislation. As usual, action on a CR will come right down to the wire. Contractors and their government customers should watch this space.