Lawmakers in the coming days are expected to easily pass a short-term spending plan to keep government operations funded into early next year.
The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on the continuing resolution, which would set government spending for the first six months of fiscal year 2013 at a rate slightly higher than the current fiscal year. The Senate is expected to vote on the plan later next week.
Republican and Democratic leaders expect the proposal to pass with bipartisan support. Even Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Republican vice presidential nominee who supported a different spending proposal, is expected to vote “yes.”
Ahead of the votes, expect to hear Democrats and Republicans blame the opposing party for forcing a vote on a short-term plan — not a long-term bill to fund the entire fiscal year.
For example: “If we had willing partners, then we would not have to have CRs,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Tuesday. “If you had people that were producing budgets, if you had people doing appropriations bills, you would not be in this position. Someone has to be the adult around here, that’s what it comes down to.”
So what’s in the continuing resolution? Here’s a quick summary:
Price Tag: $1.047 trillion, including an across-the-board spending increase of 0.6 percent over the base rate, according to the House Appropriations Committee. For those of you keeping close tabs, the cost is higher than the $1.028 trillion limit set by Ryan in the House Republican budget passed last Spring.
War spending: It includes $88.5 billion in “war-related funding” for ongoing overseas military operations.
Policy: Virtually everything currently on the books stays put with the new continuing resolution, with a few changes “to prevent catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, or to ensure good government and program oversight.”
Among other changes, the bill permits the Defense Department to to purchase supplies from other countries for use in the war in Afghanistan; provides flexibility for Customs and Border Protection to maintain current staffing levels; adds money for processing veterans disability claims, fighting western wildfires, nuclear weapons modernization and weather satellite launches.
Critically — especially for the Washington region — the bill also continues the federal employee pay freeze, which continues to apply also to lawmakers and their staffs. (Read more about the pay freeze at The Federal Eye.)
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