Congress averts shutdown, puts off spending bills until February

At about midnight Friday, the Senate by voice vote approved a continuing resolution extending until Feb. 15 funding for the 13 federal departments and various programs whose appropriations bills have not been passed.

President Bush signed that CR, which had previously been approved by the House, Saturday morning.

The House adjourned shortly after 3 a.m., with the Senate following at 4:40 a.m.

GOP leaders defused a few potential political time-bombs in the measure, by agreeing to insert language blocking members' pay raises, set to take effect Jan. 1, for the duration of the CR. That would enable incoming Democratic leaders to tie legislation raising the federal minimum wage with the lawmakers' annual cost-of-living adjustment.

House Republicans also agreed to allow the Veterans Affairs Department to transfer up to $684 million from other accounts to cushion the CR's impact on veterans' medical services.

Only the Defense and Homeland Security measures have been signed into law. Generally, the CR funds agencies and programs covered by the nine remaining fiscal 2007 appropriations at the lowest rate in either the House or Senate-passed bills or fiscal 2006 enacted levels.

Neither chamber was able to pass the 2007 Labor-HHS measure, creating a scenario where education and job training programs actually fare better because they would be funded at the higher 2006 rate. But the National Institutes of Health budget, community health centers and other healthcare programs would all take a hit.

Lawmakers agreed to include certain "anomalies," or adjustments in special circumstances. For example, entitlement programs which rely on appropriated funds, such as food stamps, child support enforcement and payments to low-income elderly and disabled individuals, would not be affected.

Agencies that would ordinarily have to furlough employees are allotted flexibility under the CR to avoid that. Lawmakers agreed to extend a provision allowing restricted snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, which otherwise could be blocked because of ongoing litigation by environmental groups. Financially strapped airlines also benefit from an extension of government-backed insurance coverage for any losses suffered as a result of acts of terrorism.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.