Why it matters:
The Indian Health Service (IHS) received an advance appropriation for 2024, protecting IHS from a full government shutdown. However, the shutdown of other government and non-IHS health services will put lives at risk. Even with advance appropriations, a prolonged shutdown will cause clinical services to suffer because several IHS accounts were not provided an advance appropriation and other government services IHS relies on will be disrupted. Tribes and Tribal organizations will pay in either borrowing costs or lives lost.
Annual funding for federal programs ends this September 30. Congress has not enacted any of the twelve annual appropriations bills. As a result, Congress must either pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government or go into emergency operating plans as part of a government shutdown.
Both the House and Senate have run into their own politics around funding the government which is changing by the minute. The House is getting a majority of the news attention, with a CR proposal keeping the government open for one month, along with an 8% cut to domestic spending, failing to gain traction. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House members led by the Problem Solvers caucus are seeking to offer a CR that could pass the House with the support of Democrats and Republicans. The current plan is for the House of Representatives to consider the remaining 11 annual appropriations bills it has not yet passed, with a CR not able to garner enough Republican support.
In the Senate, the latest discussions have been around enacting a law that would provide an automatic 14-day CR any time there is a lapse in funding. However, the Senate is seeking to tack this provision on to a package of three regular appropriations bills, and continues to struggle to find the support necessary for passage. Even if the Senate passes this provision, it would need House support on both the automatic CR solution and the three regular appropriations bills used as a vehicle for this change. Last night. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) started the process that could open up the Senate to considering their own CR next week.
There are a few solutions to avert a government shutdown being discussed in Congress, and negotiations continue to be very fluid. It is not a guarantee that the federal government will shut down, but the timing and politics are making a shutdown more and more likely.