Critical band aid: Congress to vote on funding bill as government shutdown looms

Thursday, December 8, 2016
By Paul Martin
8 Dec, 2016

A “continuing resolution” required to keep the US government operating for the next four months is facing a vote in Congress, but several provisions – from allowing Trump’s DoD pick to take office, to Flint water crisis relief – may force a shutdown.

The federal government is currently fully funded until 11:59pm Eastern Time on December 9. House Resolution 2028 aims to provide the funding required until April 28, 2017. If it is not approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the government may need to go into a partial shutdown.

“This legislation is just a band aid, but a critical one. It will give the next Congress the time to complete the annual Appropriations process, and in the meantime, take care of immediate national funding needs,” Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky), the outgoing chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday.

One of the sticking points, however, is the language that exempts the next secretary of Defense from a law that requires military officers to be retired for seven years before being eligible for the post, according to Roll Call. This would clear the way for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Pentagon, retired Marine General James Mattis.

A $170 million provision would “address the infrastructure and health needs of those communities affected by contaminated drinking water.” While this is intended to help Flint, Michigan and other communities dealing with lead in the water, the Democrats would have to agree with the GOP-proposed water infrastructure bill, which Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) may oppose over environmental concerns and the Endangered Species Act, Fox News reported.

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