As Members of Congress and their staff begin to head home for the holidays, now is the time to ready your organization’s FY25 appropriations requests. Yes, you read that correctly; 2025. When Congress returns in January, the pace of negotiations to address FY24 funding will occur in the blink of an eye. The window for substantively impacting this process has effectively closed.
As a reminder, due to the structure of the “laddered” CR passed in mid-November, federal funding for the Agriculture, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD accounts will expire January 19th. The remainder of government funding runs out February 2nd.
House Speaker Johnson has gone on record as saying there won’t be a full year continuing resolution to address (what’s left of) FY24. That doesn’t mean there won’t be one come early February, when congressional leadership will have to agree on a solution to fund the remaining 8 spending accounts. This also assumes that Congress is able come to an agreement on the first 4 appropriations bills; whether that’s through regular order bill passage or an omnibus package.
Whether you’re looking at each chamber individually or at both houses collectively, there’s been very little progress thus far. The likelihood of a CR addressing the remainder of FY24 is especially compelling when you consider that by the time Congress gets around to passing a funding resolution to address the remainder of government funding, we’ll likely be roughly than 1/3 of the way through the fiscal year. Additional short-term funding extensions become futile after a certain point and that point is quickly approaching.
With all that said, organizations looking to impact the appropriations process would do well to look forward to FY25. Here are some additional points to consider while putting together appropriations asks:
- Debt limit suspension ends on January 1, 2025. Extraordinary measures will likely allow the government to continue to meet its obligations for several months after that date.
- Statutory discretionary spending caps enacted in the Fiscal Responsibility Act expire at the end of 2025. This could prove to be a more fruitful time for programmatic language and Congressionally Directed Spending requests.
- A year-long CR could trigger need to either re-solicit or completely cancel Congressionally Directed Spending requests. In either case, these requests would be addressed going into a new Congress, which could very possibly bring a new majority in one or both chambers.
The reality is that, just like influencing legislation, securing federal appropriations is often a long-game that requires months (and in many cases years) of carefully planned strategy and engagement. Those looking to make an impact are advised to position themselves early and engage often with policymakers on both sides of the aisle.