WASHINGTON --- As expected, the U.S. Congress will defer debate over the FY17 budget until well after the incoming Trump administration comes to Washington in 2017. The government is currently being funded at FY16 levels under a continuing resolution set to expire in December. An announcement from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hall Rogers (R-KY) confirmed that his committee is working on a follow-on continuing resolution that will last until spring.
"The bottom line is that we must fulfill our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government, and do right by the taxpayers who have elected us. To this end, my Committee will begin working immediately on a Continuing Resolution (CR) at the current rate of funding to extend the operations of our government through March 31, 2017," the announcement reads.
"We must continue to keep our federal agencies and programs open for business, while looking towards future progress on these vital Appropriations bills. While I’m disappointed that the Congress is not going to be able to complete our annual funding work this year, I am extremely hopeful that the new Congress and the new Administration will finish these bills. I am also hopeful for a renewed and vigorous ‘regular order’ on future annual funding bills, so that the damaging process of Continuing Resolutions will no longer be necessary."
The Pentagon is used to working under short-term continuing resolutions, but now the DoD may not see an FY17 budget until the fiscal year is half over. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who had urged Congress to pass a spending bill by the end of the calendar year, was critical of the announcement. Carter suggested that he may seek exceptions from continuing resolution limitations that prevent increased spending on weapons systems and new-start programs in FY17.