Oct 17, 2013

Federal Government Reopens

Federal workers furloughed by the Congressional budget impasse returned to work October 17 after Congress approved and the President signed into law a bill ending the federal government shutdown and suspending the federal debt ceiling. The President signed the bill in the early morning hours of October 17.

The stopgap funding measure, HR 2775, keeps the federal government funded through January 15, 2014 at an annual level of $986.3 billion, the current level under sequestration, and suspends the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. The Senate vote was 81-18.  The House vote was 285-144.

As part of the agreement, House and Senate leaders will name a conference committee to finalize fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding levels by December 13.  The House and Senate need to close a $90 billion gap in their respective FY14 proposals.

With enactment of the temporary funding measure, states and grantees will be reimbursed for costs incurred to operate federal programs paid by federal appropriations, and federal employees furloughed by the shutdown will be paid retroactively to October 1.  Another provision in the law tightens income verification requirements for those receiving health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.  The health care law was at the center of the political impasse over passage of an FY14 stopgap funding bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR).

Much of the federal government shut down October 1, the start of FY14, when the House and Senate failed to reach agreement on a CR to keep federal programs funded in the new fiscal year.