The House passed a continuing resolution yesterday to continue current government spending into the new year, as CNBC and others reported. The Senate is expected to vote on it this week. But with Congress pushing its work into next year, there’s a growing chance defense spending will take a big hit through an automatic trigger put into place earlier this year.
Here’s what to watch for and when:
Nov. 17: Current government spending runs out Friday night, but it seems Congress is on track to pass a continuing resolution and avoid a shutdown.
Jan. 1: Any department that hasn’t been officially funded for the current fiscal year will face an automatic 1% spending cut. It would be about a $36 billion blow to the defense budget and even more the following year. The 1% trigger was included in the bipartisan debt limit deal to encourage lawmakers to complete the appropriations process.
Jan. 19: If this week’s stopgap bill gets signed into law, this would be the new deadline for several spending bills, including funding for military construction and veterans affairs.
Feb. 2: This would be the new cutoff date for all other spending, including defense appropriations.
April 30: This is when the 1% cut would go into effect. There is a chance Congress could act to simply remove the trigger by this date to stop the cuts, but that might not be an easy feat. “I don’t see what happens between Jan. 1 and April 30 that gets better,” House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) told CQ.
DOD Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation Director Patrick O’Brien discussed the looming cuts last week at ADC’s Installation Innovation X and encouraged community leaders to call Congress about the importance of passing defense appropriations bill this calendar year, as On Base reported.
DOD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. John Wright