Congress Clears Four-Week Stopgap Spending Measure
The House and Senate last week approved the conference report for a “minibus” containing the first three of the government’s fiscal 2012 spending bills along with a continuing resolution to keep the remaining federal agencies open through Dec. 16.
The continuing resolution gives lawmakers four weeks to approve the other nine spending bills, a feat they plan to accomplish by wrapping them up into a massive, omnibus. While that spending package would be expected to draw more opposition from conservatives than last week’s bill, inclusion of the military construction and defense measures could make the difference in attracting Republican votes in the House, reported CQ Today.
The president was expected to sign the minibus — which contains the FY 2012 spending bills for Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation-HUD — Saturday if he returns in time from his Asia-Pacific trip; otherwise, it would be signed by his autopen. The new continuing resolution would fund affected agencies, including DOD, at current spending levels.
Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to continue debating the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill when it returns next week from its Thanksgiving recess. Lawmakers will vote on a number of contentious issues, including the handling of suspected terrorists in U.S. custody. Several of the provisions in the bill regulating the nation’s detainee policy drew a veto threat last week from the White House.