The U.S. House of Representatives is moving closer to striking a deal to fund the federal government for six-months using what’s known here as a “continuing resolution.” Politico reports a floor vote could come as soon as Thursday.
A prominent Republican in the negotiations characterized the deal as a “punt.”
Hawaii’s Dan Inouye, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, put out this statement Monday night:
I am pleased that this Continuing Resolution (CR) provides the full $1.047 trillion funding level included in the Budget Control Act for Fiscal Year 2013. In addition, the CR provides a level of funding that will enable the federal government to meet its disaster assistance obligations for the next six months. This is a very clean CR, but I would note that the small number of anomalies included will allow us to avoid disruptions in the basic services provided by the federal government. However, let no one think that putting the government on autopilot for a full six months is a good idea. Resources that could have been used for more urgent or important projects will instead be available for lower-priority items. For this reason, I will continue to work toward passage of appropriations bills that will properly fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Once the CR deal is finalized, that might be the end of the action for what could turn out to be a short September session. From an article in The Hill titled “Lawmakers set to leave Washington early to get on the campaign trail”:
The House is scheduled to leave for recess at the end of next week and return for a few more days in October. It would be difficult to lure House members back to town if they have already passed continuing resolution (CR) legislation to keep the government operating into 2013.
“Once the CR is voted on, it’s hard to keep people around,” said a senior Republican aide.
Meantime, negotiations have yet to truly commence on the “fiscal cliff” facing the country at the end of the calendar year. From a different Politico piece:
The truth is that none of the top leaders or their aides are in serious negotiations. This leaves the key players simply pointing fingers and praying that voters clarify Washington’s power structure in November in a way that favors Republican entitlement cuts or Democratic tax hikes. The winners at the ballot box will get to set the terms, the thinking goes. Until then, don’t give an inch.
— Michael Levine