With less than 100 days until the end of the current fiscal year, the annual appropriations process has yet to begin in earnest.
The legislative calendar is already narrowing with the upcoming August recess and full swing of the presidential campaign rapidly approaching, making the prospect of wrapping up federal spending negotiations related to the Department of Education (ED) and higher education programs by the start of the next fiscal year a herculean effort.
“What we’re seeing right now is what we’ve seen the last six or eight years or so, which is a lot of stalemate and hesitation,” said Joshua Huder, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute.
Due to the distractions that come along with an election year, Congress has struggled to hit its mark on wrapping up the appropriations cycle, and pressures from the last several months, including the impeachment process, have not helped.
The legislative branch was off to a promising start, having wrapped up spending for the previous fiscal year in December, as opposed to having that process bleed into the onset of current negotiations, which lawmakers have had to deal with in previous years.