Congress Starts 2022 with Packed To-Do List
The 117th Congress returned to work this month for its second session still struggling to resolve legislative issues meant for last year. As previously reported, while fiscal year (FY) 2022 began on October 1, 2021, Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) late last year punting the annual appropriations deadline to February 18. That means, more than three months into the new fiscal year, federal agencies are operating at FY 2021 levels with no certainty of when they will receive their FY 2022 funding or what that funding will look like for this year.
Among the reasons for the delay last year was to allow Congress time to focus on passing the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), President Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation package containing funding for social safety net programs and climate change initiatives, as well as some funding for federal research agencies. However, negotiations fell apart just before Christmas when West Virginia Senator Joe Machin (D) announced he would not support the measure, halting all forward movement on the bill for the foreseeable future.
As Congress returns to work, pressure has intensified to complete the annual appropriations bills. While the reconciliation package remains the top priority for Democrats, other lawmakers are urging leadership to pivot to the FY 2022 appropriations bills.
Complicating things further, sources are reporting the White House expects that its FY 2023 budget request, which is required to be sent to Congress in early February, will be delayed by at least a month, likely a result of the delays in the FY 2022 process and reconciliation standoff.
We will know more as we get closer to the CR deadline of February 18. In the meantime, you can follow COSSA’s coverage of FY 2022 appropriations and the reconciliation package here.