March Madness on Capitol Hill

Every March I put my hopes and dreams (and a little cash), in the hands of college basketball players.  My bracket is complete and I’m excited to see which teams make it to the final four.  It’s not just March Madness in the sports world, but it’s also March Madness on Capitol Hill.  Congress has until March 23rd to pass the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) funding bill to avoid another government shutdown.   It’s maddening that we’re six months into FY18 and we still don’t have a federal budget.  It is likely that Congress will be able to pass one massive spending bill known as an Omnibus, yet negotiations have been slow due to debate over policy riders.
Fiscal year 2019 (FY19) funding is also contributing to the madness.  Congress is simultaneously negotiating funds for FY18 while creating their budget for FY19 and holding hearings on the President’s FY19 budget proposal.
A number of hearings have been held in the House and Senate this month on the Administration’s infrastructure proposal , yet some Senators have noted that due to a tight legislative timeframe before Congress focuses on campaigning for the mid-term elections, actual passage of an infrastructure proposal this year is unlikely.  Goodwill Industries International will continue to engage in these discussions and note the importance of workforce development and job-training in any infrastructure proposal.
Confirmation hearings may be a part of the games this month, particularly as changes in the Administration are ongoing.  Other topics involved in Congresses version of March Madness include reauthorization of the FARM bill which governs an array of agricultural and food programs including the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP); reaching an agreement on immigration policy related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; and making a last minute push regarding online sales tax before the Supreme Court issues a decision in April.
The actual NCAA tournament culminates with the championship game on April 2nd.  The window has closed for you to fill out your own March Madness bracket for basketball, but fortunately, you have the chance to get in the game on Capitol Hill by signing up for GII’s Legislative Action Center and receive updates and information on ways in which you can support local Goodwill® organizations.