Next Stop: A New Stopgap Spending Bill
With little optimism that lawmakers will reach agreement on a full-year fiscal 2011 spending bill over the next several weeks, House leaders have begun to craft another short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government after the current one expires March 18.
The sixth stopgap spending measure of the year likely will run for three weeks and cut $6 billion from current funding levels, reported CQ Today. House Republicans have not yet made any final decisions, however, the publication said. The new legislation is expected to be released Friday.
Meanwhile, two votes in the Senate Wednesday made clear the challenge that will need to be overcome to reach a compromise on a full-year spending measure. Senators considered two plans for funding the government — a Democratic proposal which would cut $4.7 billion from current funding levels, and a plan pushed by House Republicans, H.R. 1, which would slash spending by $57.5 billion. Both votes fell short of the 60 needed to pass.
Bipartisan negotiations among Vice President Joseph Biden and party leaders seem to be the only feasible avenue left for striking a deal to keep the government running through Sept. 30, reported CQ.