National WIC Association

Washington Update: Government Reopens After New Continuing Resolution

January 23, 2018

After a three-day shutdown, the federal government reopened on Tuesday when Congress passed another continuing resolution (CR) that authorizes funding through February 8. The compromise between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was approved by the Senate by a vote of 81-18 Monday afternoon. The House of Representatives authorized the measure by a vote of 266-150 a few hours later, and the President signed the legislation late Monday evening.

As part of the agreement between Senate leadership, Senator McConnell agreed to hold votes in the next three weeks on legislation that would address the status of the Dreamer population—nearly two million immigrants who came to the US as children, some of whom received protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. If policymakers fail to reach a deal before February 8, Senator McConnell promised he will bring an immigration bill to the floor in February.

The CR also included a six-year reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and $31 billion in delayed taxes for healthcare insurance companies and large employers. In addition to the CR’s failure to address the status of Dreamers, the CR does not provide funding for community health centers or the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program—both of which have been left unfunded for the past four months.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the compromise given Senator Schumer’s inability to negotiate a compromise on the status of Dreamers and the lack of any assurances or promise from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to consider immigration legislation. Nearly three-quarters of House Democrats voted against the CR, signaling deep frustration among House Democrats with the Senate’s compromise.

It is unclear whether Congress will be able to resolve these complex negotiations over the next three weeks, and another shutdown of the federal government remains possible on February 8. President Trump—who was not involved in the negotiations over the last few days and whose decision to end the DACA program and reject a bipartisan deal to protect Dreamers helped lead to the three-day shutdown—is expected to give the State of the Union in the interim, on January 30. NWA will continue to update members on the evolving negotiations and the probability of another shutdown in early February.