Congress Reaches Agreement to Avoid Government Shutdown

Posted on: August 2nd, 2012 by NADO Admin

On July 31, House and Senate leaders announced a bipartisan agreement, with support from the White House, on an outline for a six-month stopgap spending measure (also called a “continuing resolution” or “CR”) to continue funding discretionary spending of the federal government for the first half of fiscal year 2013 (October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013).  The current fiscal year ends on September 31, 2012, and because Congress has not yet completed its twelve annual appropriations bills, a continuing resolution is necessary to prevent a government shutdown this fall.

The top Senate Democrat and House Republican agreed that both chambers will vote in September on a continuing resolution for the first half of fiscal year 2013, using the $1.047 trillion discretionary spending limit agreed to in last year’s deficit reduction law (P.L. 112-25). This overall spending level is $19 billion higher than the $1.028 trillion amount that House appropriators have been using to write their FY2013 spending bills.

Earlier this week in a statement about the agreement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “This agreement reached between the Senate, the House and the White House provides stability for the coming months, when we will have to resolve critical issues that directly affect middle class families.”In a separate statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), said a spending stopgap measure “that can be passed by the House and Senate in September and sent to President Obama to be signed into law” will be drafted during the August recess.

Typically, continuing resolutions are much shorter than six months and serve as a vehicle to provide Congress with additional time to complete its appropriations work without causing a shutdown of government programs. However, a six-month holding pattern on government funding would allow Members of Congress to get through the November elections and then upon their return to Washington, focus their attention on the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, and expiring tax cuts.

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