January 24, 2024

Congress Passes and President Biden Signs Continuing Resolution to Avoid a January Government Shutdown

By Bria Fitz, MA, SWHR Public Policy Fellow

Last Friday, January 19, President Joe Biden signed a funding bill that will keep the U.S. government open and funded at current levels for at least another few weeks. The continuing resolution (CR) changes the deadline for Congress to pass appropriations bills, moving the date to March 1 for certain agencies and to March 8 for other agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, which has jurisdiction over federal research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. This is the third CR passed by Congress for fiscal year 2024.

While the CR is preferable to a government shutdown, the repeated delay to finalize federal funding has harmful impacts on scientific research. Laboratories and projects that rely on federal monies struggle to move forward with uncertain budgets, and federal agencies are unable to distribute research grants. By failing to agree on fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, Congress is essentially stalling new research studies and straining the planning activities of research already in progress.

SWHR has long been opposed to CRs due to their negative influence on scientific research and has urged Congress not to rely on these funding mechanisms (read the letter SWHR sent to appropriators in fiscal year 2023 here).

All eyes now turn to March with the hope that the Senate and House of Representatives can come together to provide needed investments in the country’s public health.

Read the text of the short-term funding bill here. For questions, please contact SWHR’s Chief Advocacy Officer Lindsey Miltenberger.