For the 15th straight year, Congress will enter the new fiscal year without having enacted the regular appropriations bills, and will be forced to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running when the next fiscal year begins October 1. It is expected the continuing resolution will last for about six weeks, until mid-November, when the special Joint Committee on Debt Reduction is expected to release its recommendations.
House majority leader Eric Cantor recently announced that the House plans to take up consideration of the continuing resolution the week of September 19. The Senate will consider the bill after the House. Action is needed by September 23 as both chambers are in recess during the last week of September.
The continuing resolution should adhere to the spending limits that were laid out in the debt limit legislation. Possible add-ons to the continuing resolution would be funding for the Disaster Relief Fund, as well as reauthorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration and surface transportation programs.
As of today, the House has passed six of its 12 yearly spending bills, including Defense and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs. The Senate has only passed one spending bill – Military Construction/Veterans Affairs – and as a result, that bill is likely to become the vehicle for the continuing resolution.
While a continuing resolution is likely, the Senate is still moving forward with individual spending bills. Today, the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee is set to markup the Defense spending bill, with the full Appropriations Committee considering the bill on Thursday. Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye also recently released the 302(b) discretionary spending allocations for Senate spending bills, which allocates $513,025 billion in discretionary spending to defense and $72,532 billion to Military Construction/Veterans Affairs for FY2012.