U.S. Congress unveils fourth short-term CR and announces final Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations deal

US Capitol side

Key Takeaways

On February 29, both the U.S. House and Senate passed a bipartisan Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend current federal appropriations to avoid a partial government shutdown and provide lawmakers with a few more weeks to finalize Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations.

This is the fourth stopgap measure Congress has enacted since FY 2024 began on October 1, 2023. Absent this measure, four of twelve government funding bills were slated to expire on March 1, 2024, accounting for approximately 20 percent of federal discretionary spending. The legislation does not include any foreign aid or border funding as negotiations regarding both policy areas remain ongoing.

How is the CR Structured?

Like the previous two extensions, this latest CR remains "laddered", meaning it has two separate expiration dates for two groups of annual spending bills. Please note, these groupings of bills are different than previous iterations.

  • NEW Deadline #1: Agriculture-Rural Development, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Energy & Water and Transportation-HUD - through March 8, 2024
  • NEW Deadline #2: Defense, Financial Services & General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch and State & Foreign Operations - through March 22, 2024

The legislative text for the first "minibus" package, or the set of spending bills expiring on March 8, 2024, can be found here. Highlights for counties within this legislation include increased funds for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Section 8 vouchers, Homeless Assistance Grants and veterans-related benefits.

A full analysis of final FY 2024 spending is forthcoming.

What is the Outlook for Completion?

Congress will work to consider and pass the twelve FY 2024 spending bills in two "minibus" packages in the coming weeks.

What About Statutory Spending Caps?

As Congress works to finalize FY 2024 appropriations by these new deadlines, lawmakers must also be mindful of the spending limits and deadlines imposed by the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).

  • Breaches of the FRA discretionary spending limits for defense and nondefense spending in FY 2024 could trigger sequestration cuts.
  • In December 2023, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo stating that if final FY 2024 appropriations are not in place by April 30, 2024, then sequestration could be triggered.
  • What's on the sequestration table? All non-exempt discretionary funding, much of which funds key federal programs that counties rely on.

As key intergovernmental partners, counties applaud Congress for acting in a bipartisan manner to avoid a federal government shutdown and urge our federal partners to quickly pass FY 2024 appropriations.

To access counties' FY 2024 spending priorities, click here.

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