This Friday will mark the 45th day since October 1. If you’re wondering why I am pointing that out, the end of those 45 days marks the last day of the stopgap spending bill (also known as a continuing resolution, or CR) that has been funding the Federal government during continued negotiations surrounding appropriations bills. Three days from now, if a new CR is not passed, we face the prospect of a government shutdown. Déjà vu all over again. All indications are that a CR will be passed before the deadline, averting a shutdown – at least temporarily. An unsettled question remains how long that CR will last and what conditions or changes might be attached to it. Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson does seem to have some latitude with House Republicans, particularly on the far right, so there may be cause for optimism that he can navigate a bipartisan agreement with the Senate and the President. That said, the House and Senate remain far apart on the overall spending picture, which doesn’t bode well for a lasting deal. Add to that continued debate over border policy and funding, as well as questions about the extent of U.S. engagement in conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, and you can see the narrow path Congress must take to arrive at a budget agreement. The specter of a shutdown will undoubtedly be high on the agenda when ACEC’s Government Advocacy Committee meets at our DC offices this week. We also anticipate much discussion around our ongoing campaign to fix R&D amortization. That effort is going full-speed ahead, with our TV ad now running on cable news networks and streaming services. As for me, I am headed to Indianapolis on Thursday to the meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Board of Directors, where I have been asked to speak about the long and close partnership between our two organizations. I will report back on that meeting in next week’s letter. One important note before I close: last Friday, ACEC joined the nation in commemorating Veterans Day, a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by extraordinary men and women driven by unwavering commitment to duty and an unyielding love of our country. Next week, Americans will gather for Thanksgiving. I think it’s fitting that this celebration of gratitude comes on the heels of Veterans Day. We can gather in safety and peace because of those who selflessly secure our freedoms. History has taught us that security doesn’t just happen. It requires courage, character, and commitment, and our nation’s veterans are shining examples of every one of those traits. Veterans Day is a reminder to honor the heroes who walk among us, the men and women who donate the best years of their lives to secure the blessings of freedom. So, to all veterans – and especially to the veterans within our federation – a belated but deeply felt thank you. Your service is an act of generosity that we can never repay.
Have a great week,