avoided, federal funding process takes concrete step
recovery reform on the move in Congress
Congress recently acted to extend funding for the federal government until December 20th at a flat rate from last fiscal year; this was the second continuing resolution (“CR”) of this new fiscal year. However, Congress has also recently made concrete progress: on November 24th, leadership agreed to exactly how much each department will be allowed to spend, a process referred to as 302(b) allocations. Agreeing to these allocations allows the House and Senate to work towards a final funding level for each of the programs within a Department. Both chambers had previously passed a version of a bill that funds the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but without these allocations, the House and Senate were working with different sets of figures. Now that they have an agreed-to topline number to work from, they should make faster progress. Congress-watchers anticipate that if any bills are signed into law before the December 20th deadline, the USDA and HUD bills will be among them.
The House of Representatives recently passed a large reform bill for the way the federal government provides disaster recovery funding to communities. The reforms are generally targeted at making federal disaster response focused on better assisting low-income people who experience those disasters. The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019 passed a House vote with bipartisan support. For years, local, state, and national groups have been pointing out the holes in our federal disaster response system, as evidenced in reports like these. The bill now moves to the Senate, where a companion bill has already received bipartisan sponsorship.