Bloomberg News

Congress May Pass Another Short-Term Government Spending Measure

November 02, 2011

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- For the sixth time in 2011, Congress may pass another short-term spending measure to keep financing the U.S. government while lawmakers work to complete annual appropriations legislation, lawmakers said

The stopgap legislation would fund the government from the Nov. 18 expiration of the current spending authority until sometime before Congress begins its annual holiday recess in late December, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers told reporters today.

Congress hasn’t passed any of the 12 appropriations measures for the 2012 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. Three of those measures are pending in the Senate as a package. Rogers said he hoped that package would clear Congress -- with as many as two other spending bills added to it -- after the Senate returns next week from a recess.

The stopgap spending measure, known as a continuing resolution, would include other appropriations measures.

“None of this is set in concrete; we are planning our way as we go,” said Rogers, a Kentucky Republican. “The Senate has been slow to get bills back to us. So a lot of our time is wasted, waiting.”

House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, a California Republican, confirmed the possibility of another stopgap spending measure. He said, “I am not excited about it.”

Supercommittee Deadline

The period covered by the legislation would include the Nov. 23 deadline for the bipartisan supercommittee of House members and senators to recommend a long-range $1.5 trillion deficit-cutting plan. The stopgap measure for 2012 may also include the Dec. 23 deadline for Congress to act on a supercommittee plan.

Congress has cleared five short-term spending measures to operate the government so far this year, in part because of political disputes between President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers over spending issues. Also, in late 2010, it passed a stopgap measure that financed the government through March 4 of this year, according to Congress’s legislation Web site.

Obama and the Republicans barely avoided a government shutdown in April over final funding for the 2011 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, spent much of the summer haggling over raising the federal debt limit before reaching a last-minute agreement and argued over the stopgap funding bill now in effect.

--Editors: Don Frederick, Robin Meszoly

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at jarowley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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