LEGISLATIVE OUTLOOK—BUDGET UPDATE
Government Shutdown Approaches Day Twelve
Earlier in the week, House Republicans continued its pattern of passing discrete and politically popular funding bills designed to take the “sting” out of the shutdown. From the beginning, the President and Senate Democrats firmly opposed this approach of restoring segments of federal operations instead of re-opening the entire government. The lower chamber also passed a bill that would retroactively pay all federal workers, regardless of whether or not they were furloughed. It has the President’s support but has not yet been scheduled for consideration by the Senate.
Meanwhile, we are just 6 days away from exceeding the federal borrowing limit. If the U.S. were to default, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) has reported that our economy would suffer from large interest rate increases, a national credit rating downgrade, decreased consumer confidence, and extensive stock market losses.
Although the budget impasse still exists, the dynamic seems to be shifting in a positive direction. When top House Republicans met with the President yesterday at the White House, they presented him with a proposal that would temporarily raise the debt ceiling for six weeks (through November 22), avoiding a potentially calamitous default. While House Republicans did not reach an agreement with the President, who met with Senate Republicans today, it is a positive sign that the parties are now talking. To be decided: whether the entire federal government must be opened before larger budgetary negotiations could resume, and whether any trade-offs or concessions would be made to achieve such a result. We anticipate additional conversations and votes in both chambers over the weekend.
Shutdown Impacts UI
Our campuses continue to feel the brunt of the shutdown. Peer review meetings have been delayed, new grant and contract applications have been postponed, and “stop work” orders have interrupted a few of our existing contracts. Federal agency websites have been taken down or remain idle, preventing our principal investigators from obtaining the regulatory information that they rely upon. Highly-anticipated events with Members of Congress or their staff in addition to events with federal agency officials have been called off.
We remain vigilant of the situation at hand, and will continue to keep you up to speed on any developments.
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations