When Congress returns September 7 from its August recess, at the forefront of its priorities will be the completion of the annual appropriations bills. This is true in any calendar year, given that the federal government's fiscal year begins October 1, but may be especially pertinent this year with the new congressional super committee scheduled to meet.
Where is Congress in passing the 12 major appropriations bills for fiscal 2012 by September 30? They still have a ways to go. So far, the House has passed only six of the bills and the Senate only one. The first graphic below shows at what stage each bill has reached (subscribers can access a full-version of this graphic here).
Is the lack of progress on appropriations legislation unusual? Not really. For the most part during the past decade, Congress hasn't been too adherent to the end-of-the-fiscal-year deadline, as shown below. The graphs represent a selection of the federal departments for which Congress appropriates funding for each year. The "0" position represents October 1, the first day of the fiscal year, and the blue bars represent the number of days before or after the deadline Congress passed, and the president signed, the bills funding those departments, based on information from the Library of Congress THOMAS website.