September 30, 2022, marks the end of Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), and a potential government shutdown could loom if Congress fails to pass the FY23 budget or a continuing resolution—with serious impacts for health centers and the patients they serve. Below are the potential paths Congress can take to pass next year’s budget—from the most likely to least likely scenario.
- A recurring continuing resolution into the 118th Congress. Simply put, a continuing resolution (CR) is when Congress agrees to maintain pre-existing appropriations at the same level as the previous year after failing to enact regular appropriations bills by September 30. Also, referred to as “stop gaps,” CRs prevent a partial government shutdown of programs classified as nonessential services. CRs are quite common; in fact, 1996 was the last time Congress was able to avoid passing a CR. As negotiations continue, Congress will probably implement the first CR until December 2022. Legislators will mostly make additional extensions until February 2023, and March 2023 as negotiations begin to stall. This should give Congress enough time to agree upon an omnibus appropriations bill for the remainder of FY23.
- A couple CRs and the FY23 budget is passed in December 2022. During the first or second continuing resolution, Congressional leaders could reach a bipartisan agreement for the FY23 appropriations bills in the lame-duck session of Congress following the November election. If a negotiation on federal funding is not reached by the deadline, another stopgap bill will need to be signed into law.
- Congress could surprise everyone and pass all 12 appropriations bills by the September 30, 2022, deadline. This possibility is almost guaranteed not to occur. Republicans are confident that they will control the House majority following the midterm elections and therefore have more leverage when negotiating the appropriations bill. Additionally, House and Senate Democrats are still not united on every appropriations bill, making it challenging to pass legislation before September 2022.
ACU is monitoring these legislative developments closely and will update our community on the appropriations process as it continues. Stay informed: join our advocacy network to receive our continuing updates and calls to action to improve health equity for all.