Continuing Resolution Released; Legislation Prevents Government Shutdown, Maintains Bipartisan Funding Agreement
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today introduced a temporary funding measure – known as a Continuing Resolution (CR) – to prevent a government shutdown and fund federal programs until March 27, 2013 (H.J.Res 117). While the House Appropriations Committee has acted on all 12 annual spending bills – with the full House approving seven – the Senate has failed to approve a single bill. Because of the Senate’s inaction, a CR is necessary to continue federal programs and services until final legislation can be negotiated and approved.
“I’m deeply disappointed that the House and Senate were unable to complete Appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year. My committee members worked relentlessly to produce legislation that adequately and responsibly funds the federal government, and did so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, with the Senate’s inaction and election-year politics in play, our committee’s bills will not be negotiated before the end of the fiscal year, and therefore a temporary funding Band-Aid is necessary to prevent a government shutdown.
“The CR being introduced today is a good-faith effort to provide limited, yet fair and adequate funding for government programs and services until March 27, or until final Appropriations legislation can be approved. This bill is very restricted in its scope, does not contain extensive or controversial policy riders or funding levels that dramatically differ from current levels, and protects critical funding for our national defense. The legislation reflects the bipartisan agreement made by the House and Senate leadership and the White House to prevent a government shutdown, maintain the programs and services critical to the American people, and provide certainty and stability to ensure our continued economic recovery.
“However, while important, this bill essentially punts on the core duty of Congress to complete its annual Appropriations and budget work. Our founding fathers and our Constitution have spelled out a more responsible way to allocate the People’s money – through individual, annual Appropriations bills. It is imperative to our nation’s future and to our finances that we return to a timely regular order of business on such important funding legislation,” Chairman Rogers said.
Continuing Resolution Summary:
Rate of Operations – The CR continues funding at the current rate of operations for federal agencies, programs and services. To meet the bipartisan agreement between the House, Senate and White House that ensured a total rate of operations at $1.047 trillion, a government-wide, across-the-board increase of 0.6 percent over the base rate is also included. In total, including all discretionary spending, the annual rate of the CR is $26.6 billion below last year’s level.
Disaster and War Spending – The bill continues funding for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) at last year’s level, including $6.4 billion in BCA disaster designated funding. This funding is used to provide relief and recovery efforts following disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Isaac. The bill also provides $88.5 billion in war-related funding for Department of Defense (DOD) Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the amount requested by the Administration.
General Items – Virtually all policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted Appropriations legislation will carry forward in the CR. However, some changes to current law are needed to prevent catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, or to ensure good government and program oversight. Some of these provisions include:
- A provision allowing DOD to acquire supplies in other countries for use in Afghanistan.
- A provision allowing additional funding for nuclear weapons modernization efforts, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
- A provision allowing flexibility for the Customs and Border Protection to maintain current staffing levels.
- A provision allowing additional funding and flexibility to sustain Homeland Security cybersecurity efforts.
- A provision allowing additional funding for the Interior Department and the Forest Service for wildfire suppression efforts.
- A provision allowing additional funding for the Veterans Administration to meet an increase in the disability claims workload.
- A provision extending the current pay freeze for federal employees, which includes Members of Congress and Senators.
- A provision allowing the launch schedule of new weather satellites to move forward, ensuring the continuation of critical weather information, especially in the event of weather-related natural disasters.
- A provision requiring every federal agency to provide spending plans to Congress to ensure transparency and the proper use of taxpayer dollars.
For the full text of the legislation, please visit: www.rules.house.gov