September 23, 2014

Government Shutdown Averted (Again)

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

A government shutdown was avoided last night when Senate leaders reached agreement on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Nov. 18 at the $1.043 trillion level included in the debt limit law.

Due to a dispute over offsets for disaster relief, Congress had struggled to agree on a CR to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Friday. Democrats opposed including offsets because they have traditionally not been required for emergency funding. Some Republicans argued that in the current fiscal environment, offsets should be included for FY 2011 funding.

The House had passed a continuing resolution last week to fund the government through Nov. 18 at the $1.043 trillion level. It included $3.65 billion for disaster funding--$1 billion for FY 2011 and $2.65 billion for FY 2012. To offset the FY 2011 funding, the House rescinded funds from Department of Energy loan guarantee programs--cuts Democrats opposed.

Senate leaders reached an agreement after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released new estimates projecting that disaster relief funding would remain available through the end of FY 2011. Under the agreement, $2.65 billion will be provided for disaster relief in FY 2012 while the FY 2011 funding and offsets were removed.

Last night, the Senate approved the agreement and a one-week CR to allow time for the longer agreement to be enacted. The House is expected to approve the one-week CR by unanimous consent this week and consider the longer agreement next week.