January 23, 2018
Congress Ends Shutdown, Passes Continuing Resolution to February 8
Last night, both chambers of Congress passed, and the President signed into law, H.R. 195, a continuing resolution (CR) to reopen the federal government and keep it funded through February 8, 2018. The legislation was first passed in the Senate by a vote of 81-18, and later in the House of Representatives by a vote of 266-150. The CR also extended the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and once again postponed potential across-the-board sequester cuts until after the current CR expires. The vote was also accompanied with commitments to continue work on immigration issues including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and border security.
Negotiations will continue for increased spending caps which will be necessary to pass regular appropriations bills, including the Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill. As it currently stands, the proposed THUD appropriations bills would exceed existing caps on federal spending, which means Congress has to raise the caps or cut spending to avoid sequestration. Members of both parties have spoken to the need to raise both defense and domestic spending caps in order to pass full-year appropriations, and negotiations are expected to continue on this important issue. APTA will continue to advocate for a budget deal that would pave the way to full-year appropriations and fully funding the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Reported Leaked Outline of Trump Infrastructure Package
A six-page document that purports to be an outline of the Trump Administration's infrastructure proposal has leaked and can be *viewed here*
. The document explicitly includes public transportation in the proposal, but does not identify dedicated funding for transit projects. The White House has refused to comment on the leaked document.
The document leaves many questions to be answered, and is subject to change before being formally released, but is generally consistent with previous White House infrastructure discussions. The Trump Administration is expected to release their plan around the State of the Union Address, which will occur on Tuesday, January 30 at 9 P.M. EST. After the formal plan is released, Congress will debate and negotiate the principles and ultimately craft the final legislation.