House to Vote on Spending Measure to Prevent Government Shutdown
Congress is moving closer to avoiding a government shutdown with a new $1.1 trillion spending measure.
The funding agreement, crafted by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski and Republican Representative Hal Rogers, is a combination continuing resolution/omnibus that would fund the majority of the government through September of 2015. The measure includes funds for combating ISIS forces and supporting the fight against Ebola in West Africa, but separates funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Because the DHS will be responsible for carrying out activities related to President Obama’s recent executive action concerning immigration, it would receive short-term funding via a continuing resolution at current spending levels through February 27.
The House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday. If approved, it will be considered by the Senate during a weekend session.
Lawmakers are expected to pass a separate measure that would keep the government funded for the time it takes to receive approval from both chambers of Congress and the President. The measure is expected to pass, as few in Congress want to see a repeat of last year’s government shutdown.
It is important to note that Congress would be passing a continuing resolution and not a new budget. Government contract expert Doña Storey offered some perspective during an interview with KTEM on Wednesday.
"It’s really unfortunate that in the last several years, Congress has not been able to put forward a budget, agree on their budgetary line items, and come to some sort of conclusion,” Storey said. “So, what we’ve been doing, of course, is continuing with a continuing resolution. And what does that really mean? It means that, essentially, the appropriations and the funding for the government agencies and the various programs are at least moving forward based on the dollar expenditures of the previous year.”
“If we were to look at anything that’s bright, you might say, well, at least we’re not spending more if we’re holding to last year’s budget. But, at the same time, if there are programs we no longer want in place, or if there are programs we want to expand for the good of the nation, with that new budget not being voted on, we’re really just running in place.”