House Shutdown, Not Government Shutdown

Here's how the latest D.C. developments impact the construction industry. 

On September 30, Congress averted a government shutdown with three hours to spare. The president signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) that funds through November 17 fiscal year (FY) 2024 federal agencies at FY 2023 levels, including direct federal construction programs.

As is standard with CRs, no new direct federal projects (projects contracted directly with federal agencies, i.e., not transportation projects contracted through state DOTs) may begin with FY 2024 funds until full year appropriations legislation is passed. That stated, projects using previous years’ funding may begin. Federally assisted projects, including transportation projects contracted through state DOTs, are largely not impacted by the CR, as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes advanced appropriations for many construction investment programs.

In addition to funding the federal government, the CR also includes provisions:

  • Reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration through December 31, staving off any impacts to Airport Improvement Program (AIP) runway and taxiway construction projects and averting the loss of ticket tax (passenger facility charge) revenues that help fund airport construction.
  • Providing $16 billion in supplemental disaster aid to help fund recovery, clean up, and reconstruction efforts for recent natural disasters, including but not limited to the Hawaiian wildfires and east coast hurricanes.
  • Extending the National Flood Insurance Program authorization to November 17. If this program authorization were to lapse, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 1,300 property sales each day, roughly 40,000 closings per month.

Shortly after enactment of the CR, eight House Republicans joined with all House Democrats to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from office. While a temporary Speaker has been appointed, the role is limited to preside over floor debate and voting about the election of a new speaker. As a result, no legislation can be passed by the House of Representatives in the absence of a permanent Speaker.

While Republicans plan to vote on a new Speaker as early as October 11, it is possible that agreement on a Speaker and likely new rules of the House could go well beyond that date, impeding legislative business important to the construction industry and the nation.

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