Outcome of Midterm Elections May Not Offer Clarity over FY 2015 Endgame
The remaining weeks of 2014 could see an effort to pass a sweeping omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2015, should the Republicans gain control of the Senate after the midterm Congressional elections tomorrow. Even though the Democrats would still control the Senate until January, Republican leaders have stated that under such a scenario they would work during the lame duck session to pass an omnibus, allowing the 114th Congress to start in January with a clean slate. However, such a feat has proven impossible in recent history. For example, the FY 2014 appropriations process was not completed until January of this year, and the stalemate over the FY 2013 appropriations bills led to the 16-day federal government shutdown; the FY 2013 appropriations process finally concluded six months into the fiscal year.
The federal government in currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11 (see the September 22, 2014 COSSA Washington Update). Though the midterm elections will take place tomorrow, given the closeness of a handful of key Senate races that could result in runoffs, it may not be immediately clear which party will control the Senate in 2015. It also leaves the outlook for completion of the FY 2015 appropriations bills unclear.