The White House has warned that failure of Congress to pass specific budget provisions for the current fiscal year could degrade a range of government operations, including potentially triggering hiring freezes.
The announcement comes ahead of the December 3 expiration of the current “continuing resolution” which has been in place since fiscal 2022 began October 1 that generally extended spending authority at 2021 levels. Little progress has been made toward enacting specific appropriations language in the meantime, leading to expectations that at least one more temporary extension will be needed and raising the potential that Congress will simply generally extend those spending levels through next September.
In a letter, the OMB said that such under such an extension, “the Social Security Administration would likely have to implement a full hiring freeze, leading to an increase in the backlog of disability claims, longer wait times for claimants, and increased time to receive assistance through the 1-800 number. Claimants may have to wait more than six months for a disability determination, nearly 70 percent longer than the average wait times over the past decade, significantly delaying vital services.”
It said that without the funding increases requested in the administration’s budget request, other impacts would include:
* the Agriculture Department would not “have the funds to ensure adequate inspector staffing at meat and poultry plants”;
* the CDC “would be delayed in rebuilding the nation’s public health infrastructure and workforce” and the government “would be unable to achieve its stockpiling goals for personal protective equipment and certain medical countermeasures”;
* the Defense Department would have to delay modernization, weapons development and military construction projects and would have to reduce other spending to pay for the planned raise for military personnel;
* agencies would have to delay the deployment of capabilities for response and mitigation of cybersecurity incidents.