Appropriations Likely Headed for Continuing Resolution
November 19th, 2010
Despite weeks of work by congressional appropriators to put together an omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2011, it appears increasingly likely that the appropriations measure, already a month and a half overdue, will not have the votes to pass. Democratic appropriators have written a bill to the reduced total spending level advocated by their Republican counterparts prior to the elections, but that no longer seems to be enough budget cutting to allow for an agreement to be reached.
Instead the new battle lines seem to be between passing a short term continuing resolution to keep spending at FY 2010 levels through February, at which time an omnibus bill would be taken up that would presumably include deeper reductions in spending, and passing a full-year continuing resolution that would lock in 2010 spending levels for all of 2011. Republican leaderships is pushing for the short term continuing resolution while the White House is pushing for the full year version.
In addition to the length of the continuing resolution, another issue yet to be resolved is whether it will be a clean bill or if there will be certain accounts that are allowed to increase. The longer spending gets put on remote control, the further removed it can become from current pressing priorities.
Expect to hear more about omnibus bill versus continuing resolution, and short term versus long term continuing resolution over the course of the next two weeks. The current continuing resolution runs out on December 3, which will be the drop dead date for Congress choosing a course forward.