Congress has reached an agreement on a short-term extension of government funding, through December 21. The “continuing resolution,” which passed the House today and is pending Senate approval, would stave off another government shutdown while lawmakers hash out the final details on the remaining Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations, including for the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Congress has approved the full Fiscal Year 2019 budget for a few agencies, including the Department of Defense. But the remaining agencies, including the DOT—which encompasses the FAA—and the Department of Homeland Security, have been operating under a temporary funding measure that extends through December 7.
The ultimate fate of the transportation budget remains in limbo, with some suggesting that Congress ultimately will push off passage of a full-year budget until next year, when the new Congress arrives. But at the same time, Congress is believed to be near agreement on the package involving transportation funding.
A shutdown also remains possible as Congress and the White House remain at odds on issues such as border-wall funding. Such a move would mark the third shutdown this year. The government shut down from January 20-22 and then on February 9.
Earlier this year, the FAA furloughed nearly 18,000 employees affecting activities such as the aircraft registry, airman certificate issuance, unmanned operation exemptions, rulemaking, facility inspections, dispute resolution, and financial activities. The most recent FAA reauthorization shields the aircraft registry from further shutdowns.