APPROPRIATIONS PICTURE UNCERTAIN, DESPITE DEFENSE CONCERNS
House Democrats are expected to introduce their own version of an FY’23 omnibus appropriations package today, just four days before the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires. Whether or not this leads to the passage of a final measure this calendar year remains uncertain. Democrats have been moving ahead with their own plans all week, even as they remain about $25 billion apart on top-line non-defense spending with what Congressional Republicans want. The package would require 10 Republican votes to pass in the Senate, something that is not likely at this time, because of the top-line disparity and a desire by Republicans to increase defense spending while keeping domestic spending more or less at current levels. It seems increasingly certain that there will be another CR, though whether it will last for days, or months is unknown. This uncertainty is not good for industry or government. There is no way for either group to plan for important projects when they have no idea when they can commence work, or start work on any project that needs appropriated dollars. Worse, the continued delays and uncertainty add to national security concerns. The Pentagon needs to be able to replenish war material and start production of new weapons systems. DOD leaders advised Congress last week that a year-long CR would take defense to a “bad place” and urged them to pass a final spending measure quickly. Do Congressional members truly understand the consequences of not acting in a timely and resolute manner? The Congressional echo chamber can ring loudly, drowning out other voices. Contractors may want to remind their elected officials that passing timely appropriations isn’t something nice to do, like giving ice cream to children. Rather, it is something that has to happen for both domestic and international stability. Perhaps industry can be a voice of reason to encourage Congress to get its job done now.