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Congress Returns to Major Work before Start of the New Fiscal year

This fiscal year ends on September 30.  Congress is still struggling to accomplish some of its most basic tasks – passing 12 funding measures to keep the Government going for the year ahead.  So far, the House has acted on 6 of the FY 12 measures (Agriculture, Homeland Security, Defense, Energy & Water, Military/Veterans, and Legislative Branch).  The Senate is just beginning – with full committee action this week on Energy & Water, Agriculture, and Homeland Security.  Notably absent, once again, is a focused funding discussion for Interior and Environment appropriations.  The House pulled the bill from Floor consideration before the August recess and the Senate has not taken it up at all.  There are 3 weeks left before FY 12 begins.  The likelihood of success in enacting specific Federal appropriations diminishes with each passing day.  Add to that the charge of the new Deficit Reduction “super committee” to find significant spending reductions by November 23 and prospects for passage of targeted funding measures dims even more.  Once again, Senators and Representatives will fall back on at least one Continuing Resolution through late fall, probably to be followed by an Omnibus Appropriations measure.  This approach offers little opportunity for judicious, well considered, funding deliberations.