Tentative Agreement on Federal Spending Deal

Posted on February 19, 2019

With a Friday deadline looming, lawmakers in Congress say they have reached a deal on a spending bill that would keep the government open for the rest of the fiscal year. Without an agreement, funding for about a quarter of the federal government would run out on Feb. 15.

The spending agreement would reportedly include some $1.3 billion for barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s far less than the $5.7 billion that President Donald Trump had been demanding.

During NAIOP’s annual Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat in Washington, D.C., last week, keynote speaker Bret Baier of Fox News suggested a compromise. Baier said Trump probably will not get a physical “wall” on the border, but could get increased funding for border security. He predicted that might be enough for Trump to declare a win on the issue.

There could be at least one other compromise. Baier added that “the possibility of an infrastructure deal is real” this year. Trump mentioned the issue in his State of the Union address. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is the new head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He said he’d like to get a deal made, but he added: “Any serious infrastructure proposal must provide sustainable, long-term federal funding so we can make these necessary investments, create millions of living-wage American jobs, increase economic growth, and decrease congestion and emissions.” After the president’s State of the Union address last week, hundreds of NAIOP members fanned out across Capitol Hill to discuss issues including tax policy, infrastructure and environmental reform with their state representatives.

While the government is open for now, the five-week shutdown that stretched from Christmas 2018 into late January 2019 slowed down several initiatives that are important to commercial real estate, including Endangered Species Act reform and a rewrite of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. Regulators are considering how to rework those programs.

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