Negotiations of an omnibus FY2015 appropriations bill are continuing to occur behind the scenes. The omnibus bill under negotiation contains multiple appropriations bills including the agriculture appropriations bill that funds the WIC program. Policymakers have until December 11th to pass the bill or they will need to pass another Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a federal government shutdown. CRs keep government programs funded for defined periods of time at current levels, with across-the-board increases or cuts while lawmakers seek agreement on the annual spending levels for each program.
There have been instances when a CR’s defined term ran through the end of the fiscal year, essentially taking the place of an omnibus. If Congress passes the omnibus appropriations bill by December 11th, FY2015 funding will be set for the entire rest of the year. If Congress passes a CR instead, it will likely last until the middle of March. A further CR is possible then to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. Needless to say, the continued uncertainties render ongoing management of WIC and other programs a constant struggle.