The House of Representatives passed a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) Wednesday night with a 319-108 vote, designed to prevent a government shutdown after the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30, 2014. The Senate passed the measure Thursday evening in a 78-22 vote.
The legislation continues funding for government programs and services at the current annual cap of $1.012 trillion. This funding rate will remain in place for the length of the CR, or until Congress approves annual Appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2015.
The bill also includes an amendment, adopted on the House floor, to authorize the training and equipping of Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as requested by the President.
The House Appropriations Committee issued a statement from committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) that noted: “[T]his is merely a temporary, Band-Aid funding measure, and it does not make the necessary, line-by-line budget decisions that occur in full-year, regular Appropriations bills. But at this point, it is our best, most clear path forward – allowing time to draft bicameral pieces of legislation that reflect our real and urgent budgetary requirements and utilize our nation’s taxpayer dollars in the most responsible way. I applaud its passage today, and I urge the Senate to pass this bill and submit it to the President for his signature as soon as possible.”
As noted in an earlier posting on FedSmith, the legislation does not block the 1% pay raise proposed by President Obama. Congress could alter the 1% raise in legislation but has not yet done so and most likely will not do so this year.
The bill avoids most controversial issues that still need to be resolved in the budgetary process. The CR avoids these political disputes until after the November elections.
The bill also provides more funds to the Health and Human Services Department, including $88 million for combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and developing medical treatments.
The CR also includes higher funding for the Veterans Affairs Department to investigate potential impropriety in manipulating waitlist data and retaliating against whistleblowers. It would also increase appropriations for the VA’s disability claims backlog.