Lawmakers announce deal in hopes of avoiding another shutdown

Published on
February 12, 2019

Federal lawmakers reached a tentative agreement Monday night, 11 February, on a budget deal that would secure funding for multiple agencies through the end of the fiscal year, including NOAA Fisheries.

Specifics about the agreement, reached by the chairs and ranking minority members of the House and Senate appropriations committees, have yet to be released. However, other lawmakers expressed their confidence in the deal.

“It completes all seven appropriations bills so Congress can complete a funding process for all the outstanding parts of the federal government with predictability and with certainty,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, 12 February. 

Last month, Congress passed a temporary spending bill that ended a 35-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown affected staff at NOAA Fisheries and other agencies, precluding them from working. From a fishing perspective, the shutdown kept NOAA Fisheries from announcing landings data and held up permitting processes.

The current short-term spending plan expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, 16 February. Another shutdown would occur if the Congress fails to pass the deal reached by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York), U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), or if President Trump vetoes the bill.

Trump, according to multiple media reports, said Tuesday afternoon he didn’t like the agreement but added he didn’t think there would be a shutdown. The president previously turned down a long-term spending plan in December that led to the longest shutdown in government history.

Previous long-term spending bills have included an additional USD 3 million (EUR 2.6 million) in funding for the Food and Drug Administration to expand inspections of imported seafood shipments.

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