Because Congress failed to pass 2014 appropriations before the start of the new fiscal year on 10/1/13, the government was forced to shut down. This bill, signed into law on 10/16, ended the government shutdown by appropriating funds to government agencies—including the Depts. of State and Defense—through 1/15/14, and it also raised the debt limit through 2/7/14.
Budgetary appropriations to agencies, funds, and services related to Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East generally fall under 2 sections of the budget: Defense Dept., and State Dept. and foreign operations. The FY 2013 budget, itself an extension of the FY 2012 budget with minor adjustments, was maintained for those 2 depts. through 1/15/14 (for FY 2013, see *H.R. 933 of 3/6/13 and *H.J. Res. 117 of 9/10/12; for FY 2012, see *H.R. 2055 of 5/31/11).
In addition to extending the budgets, this bill did not repeal the fail-safe funding cuts of the Budget Control Act of 2011, commonly known as the sequester (see *H.R. 933 of 3/6/13 for more on the sequester), so the budget approved by this bill was subject to those cuts.
The shutdown was instigated for political reasons largely irrelevant to the subject matter at hand. A small group of Republicans in the House blocked any budget bill from passing in protest against the Affordable Care Act, a healthcare reform bill which was signed into law in 2010. Their protest lasted until 10/16, the day before the debt ceiling—a legislative mechanism that Congress must agree to raise—was projected to be reached by the Treasury.
The shutdown debate did play into this journal’s subject matter in 2 noteworthy ways. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a subsidiary of the Treasury, is the primary agency charged with overseeing the implementation of sanctions on Iran. Because ‘nonessential’ federal employees were on furlough during the shutdown, and many employees of the OFAC were deemed ‘nonessential,’ the sanctions were not being fully monitored.
The other instance in which the relevant issues were impacted by the government shutdown came on 10/2, when State Dept. spokesperson Psaki was discussing the potential effects of the shutdown on U.S. military support to its allies (on 10/2/13). She said, ‘I’ll just give you one example—FY 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed until a continuing resolution or until full-year appropriation is passed. The State Dept.’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the timeframe that is expected and customary could be hindered depending on the length of the shutdown’
104 cosponsors (104R).
See also: *H.R. 2055 of 5/31/11, *H.R. 933 of 3/6/13, and *H.J. Res. 117 of 9/10/12.
Last major action: 10/17/13 signed into law by the president. (10/16/13 passed in Senate by yea-nay vote, 81–18; 9/12/13 passed in House by yea-nay vote, 235–191.)