Congressional leaders’ plan to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running for the first seven weeks of the new fiscal year hasn’t gone as smoothly as hoped, but with one more week remaining before the start of FY 2012 no one yet is predicting a faceoff that goes down to the eleventh hour.
After two attempts, the House early Friday morning passed a continuing resolution that would have funded the government through Nov. 18 at the rate set in August’s agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. The Senate promptly killed the measure, however, over two offsets to the $3.7 billion in disaster aid included to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s coffers. The larger of the two offsets eliminates $1.5 billion in funding for an Energy Department program providing loan guarantees for the production of energy-efficient automobiles.
As a result, the Senate, and probably the House, will be forced to return to Capitol Hill this week despite a scheduled recess. The Senate is scheduled Monday evening to vote on a motion to take up a continuing resolution that does not include the two offsets in the House version. If the Senate ultimately passes the stopgap measure — an outcome that is far from guaranteed — it would be the House’s turn to take up the legislation.