Funding the Government: What’s Moving and What’s Not

Originally posted at the Government Affairs Institute

The continuing resolution (CR) that passed in the House on March 6 was expected to easily pass in the Senate last week (wait a minute; did I just say “easily pass in the Senate”?). Both bills would fund the government at sequester level spending through September 30. The Senate version adds three additional appropriations bills to the House version, which had two. But it has yet to pass in the upper chamber, where Senators have attempted to attach no fewer than 100 amendments to what was supposed to be a relatively clean bill, and have demanded the 30 hours of post-cloture debate that they are entitled before a vote. An agreement reached last night sets up a vote for midday tomorrow. Assuming it passes then, and assuming there are no significant changes, it will still need to return to and pass in the House. The problem is that both chambers are scheduled to leave town tomorrow for the spring recess.

There was bipartisan agreement to pass the CR quickly, so that both chambers could move on to the FY14 budget resolutions, which will in turn draw battle lines in preparation for the upcoming debate on raising the debt limit. The Senate was supposed to pass its version of the FY14 budget resolution before the recess, but the budget process provides for 50 hours of debate on a budget resolution, making it unlikely that they’ll get around a vote prior to their return in the second week in April.

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