Likelihood of Continuing Resolution Grows

Because of continuing Congressional gridlock over what funding allocation caps should be used (the debt-limit deal or the House budget resolution) and whether passing legislation is a political advantage or disadvantage in this election year, no one expects to avoid governing once again by Continuing Resolution (CR) when the fiscal year ends on September 30th.

The question, however, now becomes how long to keep a CR in place. Should it extend for only a few weeks while Representatives and Senators continue to deliberate on appropriations measures; be in place through the November elections which could help clarify (or not) the fiscal direction desired by the American public; or should it run beyond the end of the calendar year, which is when the Bush era tax cuts expire?

With both chambers of Congress about to adjourn for the August recess (August 6 through September 7), there are only a handful of legislative days left in the fiscal year to take on appropriations measures. In case you’re keeping count…

The House has passed six appropriations bills: Commerce/Justice/Science, Defense, Energy & Water, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and Military/Veterans. The full House Appropriations Committee has passed five other funding measures including Interior & Environment which would fund EPA at an overall $7 billion (a 17% reduction from FY 12 enacted levels). The only House appropriations measure that has not been subjected to full Committee action is Labor/HHS/Education.

The Senate has not taken up or passed any of the twelve FY 13 appropriations measures. However, the full Committee has passed nine of the funding bills, which are now awaiting Floor consideration. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittees that have not acted as yet include Defense, Legislative Branch, and Interior & Environment.