House Advances Continuing Resolution; Senate Expected to Clear Measure

Posted on: September 14th, 2012 by NADO Admin

On September 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a six-month stopgap spending measure, following through on an agreement negotiated with the White House and U.S. Senate before the August recess. The Senate is expected to easily clear the measure next week.

The measure (H. J. Res. 117), also called a Continuing Resolution or “CR,” will fund the federal government for the first half of fiscal year 2013 (from October 1, 2012 through March 27, 2013), and reflects the $1.047 trillion cap set for discretionary spending in the 2011 Budget Control Act (P.L. 112-25). This is approximately $8 billion over current federal government spending and represents about a 0.6 percent increase for all federal agencies.

According to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released this week, the small increase is unlikely to translate into additional dollars for federal agencies. As happens regularly with emergency spending laws, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will issue instructions to agencies on how to ration, or apportion, the funds for the first half of fiscal 2013. Agency leaders will most likely be even more careful than usual, due to the many uncertainties surrounding the upcoming sequester.

But the CR agreement does provide a brief break from the large-scale battles over spending that have consumed Congress, postponing the tough decisions that House and Senate leaders must tackle next year. Although Congress now faces further accusations of “kicking the can down the road,” both parties are anxious to avoid a repeat of a government shutdown so close to the election.  Democrats, betting on President Obama’s re-election and congressional victories that will help them fight what they consider draconian cuts, agreed to the CR instead of pushing for a shorter measure that would have forced decisions on spending in the lame-duck session. House Republicans, on the other hand, will allow Democrats a small increase in spending through the CR, hoping for a win by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney which would position them to make more substantial changes to federal spending next year.

Additional CR Resources:

  • Click here (http://www NULL.gpo NULL.pdf) to view the full legislative draft CR
  • Click here to view the House Appropriations press release, list of anomalies (or exceptions), and summary of the CR
  • Click here (http://www NULL.cbo NULL.pdf)to view the Congressional Budget Office report on CR spending
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