Congressional Spending Talks Stymied by Controversial Policy Riders

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Mar 16, 2018

Last month, Congress reached a bipartisan deal that outlined broad budget numbers for the next two fiscal years. The legislative agreement passed by Congress, however, only technically funded the government through March 23, 2018. This was done to allow time for congressional appropriators to use the agreement as a blueprint to write a detailed bill outlining government funding through the end of the fiscal year. In recent days though, efforts to approve the massive spending package by the March 23 deadline have been bogged down by controversial add-on’s, commonly referred to as policy riders.

Among the contentious issues that are plaguing the negotiations are provisions targeting Planned Parenthood, possible fixes for problems involving the new Republican tax law, funding for low-income subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of background checks for gun sales, new money for President Trump's proposed border wall and tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

A failure of Congress to pass another funding bill before March 23 would cause large parts of the government to shut down again which both parties have said they want to avoid.

Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD will continue to monitor congressional budget negotiations and their potential impacts on key oral health programs and general dentistry.