Advocacy

Congress Passes Measure to Fund Federal Government Through Fiscal Year 2013

File Type: Article
Release Date: March 2013

In an uncharacteristic move by Congress, both the House and Senate passed a spending bill that will fund the federal government through the fiscal year (August 30). The continuing resolution (CR) was passed days before the March 27 deadline that would have shut down the federal government. That In an uncharacteristic move by Congress, both the House and Senate passed a spending bill that will fund the federal government through the fiscal year (August 30). The continuing resolution (CR) was passed days before the March 27 deadline that would have shut down the federal government. That self-imposed deadline was set during the fiscal cliff negotiations earlier this year.

The passed CR also keeps in place the $85 billion in spending cuts known as sequestration. However, a few amendments were passed to avoid cuts in programs that would affect the health and welfare of the general public. For example, the Food Safety and Inspection Service will be given $55 million from existing agriculture programs to avoid furloughs for food inspectors.

In a related matter, just days after voting on the CR, the U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution for the first time in four years. The bill, S. Con. Res. 8, would raise $975 billion in new revenues over 10 years. The measure passed by a vote of 50-49. The House would need to take up the measure and pass it before it became law, and there is little likelihood of that occurring given their different budget philosophy.

The next budget showdown will come late in the summer, as the debt ceiling will be reached and will need to be raised to avoid default of the nation’s debt. Many see this as the next big fiscal negotiation with Democrats seeking new revenue and Republicans standing firm on a reduction in spending. It remains to be seen if the two parties will come together during this next negotiation, or if they will dig in their heels along party lines and force a standoff.