On Friday, February 15, 2019, President Trump signed an agreement to avoid another government shutdown. Now that the threat of a government shutdown is over for this fiscal year, work at affected federal agencies is starting to return to normal. The agreement ends weeks of uncertainty following a three-week agreement to temporarily re-open the government after the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history. In addition to $1.375 billion in funding for border “fencing and physical barriers” at the U.S. southern border, the deal also will fund nine federal departments through September 30, 2019.
In addition to signing this agreement, President Trump also declared a national emergency at the southern border in hopes this would allow the administration to reappropriate funds from other agencies to reach full funding for a border wall. A coalition of 16 states has already sued the Administration over this emergency declaration, challenging that it is unconstitutional. Congress has the “power of the purse,” or appropriations power, and the lawsuit alleges that President Trump is using this emergency declaration to circumvent what Congress has already legislated. This issue will now be held up in the courts for months to come.
It is good news that President Trump and Congressional leaders have avoided another government shutdown. Agencies important to mobility such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), State Department, and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are now returning to normal operation. With tax return season approaching, having the IRS fully funded should allow returns to be processed on the usual time table. The real estate sector will benefit having HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fully funded. This will prevent delays in new loans being approved and environmental regulatory programs will be fully operational.
While it is good news to have the federal government fully funded through September, the appropriations process for fiscal year 2020 will be starting soon. President Trump should be releasing his 2020 budget in the next few weeks, which will give an outline as to the administration’s priorities for the upcoming year. The appropriations process will need to be completed by September 30, 2019 in order to prevent a government shutdown this fall. Worldwide ERC® will keep members up to date once President Trump releases his budget and FY 2020 appropriations work gets underway.