Stopgap Spending Bill to Avert Shutdown Passes House, Senate

After a month of negotiations on a stopgap measure to keep the government running at the start of fiscal 2017, the House and Senate on Wednesday approved a short-term spending package that will now go to President Obama for his signature.

The continuing resolution (CR) will provide lawmakers 10 weeks to complete work on FY 2017 appropriations and hash out a handful of unresolved policy issues.

In addition to the CR that extends funding for the federal government through Dec. 9, the spending package includes $1.1 billion in emergency spending to combat the Zika virus, $500 million in flood relief for Louisiana and other states, and a full-year appropriations bill for military construction and Veterans Affairs.

The impasse over the stopgap in the Senate was eased after congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal Tuesday night to provide funding to fix the contaminated water supply system in Flint, Mich., in a water resources authorization bill under consideration in the House. On Wednesday, House members approved an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorizing $170 million for Flint, before passing the underlying legislation.

The Senate’s version of WRDA already includes $220 million for the city. The differences likely will be worked out in a conference committee during the lame duck session following the November elections.

With the commitment from the GOP to add the Flint aid to the water bill, Senate Democrats backed the spending package Wednesday afternoon. By Wednesday night, the House approved the package as well, giving the president two days to sign the bill before funding for the government runs out.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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