-Erik Peterson, Afterschool Alliance
Two days before the 2016 federal fiscal year (FY) ended, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term FY2017 continuing resolution (CR). The temporary stop gap funding measure sets spending levels at the FY 2016 spending levels through December 9, 2016. The CR was subsequently signed by the President.
The bill extends current funding with a 0.496 percent across-the-board cut to all programs including federal education programs. For the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, that means an estimated $5.8 million cut. However, because the program is forward funded, program grantees would not see the impact of that cut if 21st CCLC is funded at the current level in any final spending bill expected to pass during the lame duck session.
The measure also provides $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, $500 million for flood relief, and funds the Department of Veterans Affairs for the full fiscal year. The CR passed in the Senate by a vote of 72 to 26 and in the House by a vote of 342 to 85. Lawmakers were able to reach a deal after weeks of negotiations. One of the biggest stumbling blocks was disagreement over whether and how to provide aid to Flint, Michigan to address the city’s lead-tainted water system. In the end, Congress agreed to authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects expected to pass during the lame duck session after Election Day in November.
Congress is now out on recess through after Election Day. The White House and Congress have until December 9 to either negotiate another CR or enact full FY17 appropriations bills. From the perspective of afterschool providers and advocates, an omnibus spending bill that includes all individual spending bills is optimal over an additional CR, as it would reduce uncertainty for state agencies who hope to hold 21st CCLC grant competitions in early 2017. Add your voice to the appropriations process through our action center.