House Approves Stopgap Spending Bill
The House, with Democratic support, approved a spending measure Tuesday that would keep the federal government operating through Nov. 18, paving the way for House and Senate leaders to start negotiating an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2012.
President Obama was expected to sign the bill before midnight when an interim measure approved last week expires. The Senate passed the compromise legislation last week; it drops $1.0 billion in disaster funding from a previous version to end a dispute with the House over whether the aid should be offset. The legislation would fund the government for the next six-plus weeks at the $1.043 trillion level set in August’s deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
Now lawmakers will try to reach agreement over splitting the FY 2012 funding among the government’s 12 spending bills, before settling differences on how to fund individual programs. The bills most likely will be combined into one omnibus, although the possibility remains they could be moved via smaller legislative packages, called “minibuses,” reported CQ Today.
One discrepancy that will need to be reconciled is how much funding to allocate to the defense spending bill. Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended allocating $513 billion to the department, while the House previously approved $530.5 billion in discretionary funds for the spending bill.