The federal government will continue to be funded mostly at the Fiscal Year 2016 level until late April. The budget extension had passed the House earlier in the week and the Senate voted last night to send the bill to Obama’s desk.
Many Dems were unhappy because instead of funding the government for the year—until September 30th—the whole issue will be revisited in the spring. The election of Donald Trump was pretty much the deciding factor and this short term fix gives the Trump team time to get in place and put their funding priorities in the mix.
You can read about the final vote here at The Hill.
For our purposes (we have been writing about the issue of funding for the Refugee program for months), the results are good news.
Last week we reported that the Obama Administration was looking for billions in additional funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement claiming that if they didn’t get their big tranche of money, ORR would go broke in February.
Well they didn’t get most of it which should make it even easier for Trump to stop or significantly slow the flow of refugees after January 20th since clearly the Congress is signalling that there is not much support for the high level of refugees that Obama wanted and surely Hillary would have enthusiastically supported had she won the election in November.
Obama’s 110,000 refugee goal for this year will now (in my opinion) be out of reach.
Here is what Numbers USA is reporting:
The House overwhelmingly approved, with bipartisan support, a short-term spending bill yesterday without any significant changes to the refugee program and without expanding the H-2B guest-worker program.
The short-term spending bill would fund the government through late-April, so there will likely be another battle then. But negotiations will be with a different administration that’s more focused on eliminating fraud within the refugee program and protecting the jobs and wages of American workers.
We faced two threats with this week’s fight. First, back in September, Pres. Obama demanded an increase in funding for the refugee program to accommodate an additional 25,000 refugees over last year’s already inflated numbers. The White House more recently requested a doubling of refugee funding through the short-term spending bill. The money not only would pay for the additional refugees, but would house and resettle across the U.S. the thousands of border surgers who have illegally entered the U.S. in recent months.
Congress added a small increase in refugee funding, but none of the additional funds can be used to resettle new refugees in the United States nor can they be used by the Obama Administration to house and resettle the border surgers.
The budget battle will now resume in the spring—a battle which could be significantly less important for us if Trump acts on his campaign promise to halt refugee admissions from terror-producing countries—which is about half of the flow coming in right now.
This is strange…..
I searched around this morning to see if the VOLAGs (refugee contractors) or their lobbyists were wailing, but am not seeing anything. Delayed reaction? Maybe they had some leftover funds sloshing around? But, they have already said they don’t!
Keep me posted if you see anything.
What you might see before I do is some local news reports that say that the opening of a new resettlement site is being ‘delayed.’
This post and all posts on the budget process are tagged ‘Where is Congress.’