Congress Funds Government…For Two More Weeks
October 7, 2012
To avoid a shutdown of the federal government, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) this week that will allow the government to continue operating through March 18. Altogether, the short-term fix will reduce current spending levels by $4 billion by rolling back certain earmarks and eliminating a handful of programs, many of which were already targeted by President Obama in his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. President Obama signed the temporary funding bill just prior to the current CR expiration on March 4. By passing the short extension only, the rhetoric and debate on Capitol Hill is expected to escalate in the coming weeks.
Prior to this week’s short-term extension debate, the House passed a measure last month to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, which would have provided over $60 billion in savings. However, many of the provisions in the bill brought much controversy and political overtones, leaving little chance that the Democrat-controlled Senate will pass it.
Along with health care and food safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quickly became a main target of the House GOP. Through the amendment process, EPA’s efforts on a multitude of issues concerning agriculture would be effectively stopped, including the agency’s actions in the Chesapeake Bay, their efforts in the State of Florida with numeric nutrient criteria, as well as the ongoing work to further regulate dust particles. Meanwhile, the House also voted on multiple amendments regarding biofuels. Amendments that would stop EPA from implementing E15 and halt federal funding from going to the development of certain ethanol infrastructure, successfully passed in the House.