• The Continuing Resolution
  • March 13, 2013
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • This week, the House of Representatives - by a wide bipartisan majority - passed a temporary measure to continue to fund the government for six months. Funding for the government was scheduled to expire on March 27th.

    The legislation, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), includes a full-year funding for Defense Appropriations, as well as a full-year funding for Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations on top of a six-month extension for the remainder of FY2013.

    Except for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CR extends funding for other government agencies at last year’s levels. However, the funding within the bill is subject to sequestration cuts. This means that the funding rate within the legislation is approximately $982 billion - the level required by sequestration.

    Virtually all policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted Appropriations legislation carry forward under this CR. There are some new provisions, however, including:

    • A provision allowing additional funding for nuclear weapons modernization efforts, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
    • A provision allowing Customs and Border Protection to maintain current staffing levels.
    • A provision providing additional funding for the FBI to ensure current staffing levels and critical increases in cybersecurity and surveillance.
    • A provision providing roughly $2 billion above the current level for embassy security, which supports the full fiscal year 2013 request and increased security needs identified after the Benghazi attack.
    • A provision allowing additional funding to ensure the safe and secure operation of federal prisons.
    • A provision requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to sustain the mandated capacity of 34,000 detention beds.
    • A provision extending the current pay freeze for federal employees, which includes members of Congress and Senators.
    • A provision allowing additional funding for the Department of Interior and the Forest Service for wildfire suppression efforts.
    • A provision allowing additional funding to maintain the launch schedule for new weather satellites, ensuring the continuation of data for weather warnings and forecasts, including forecasts of severe weather events.
    • A provision requiring every federal agency to provide spending plans to Congress to ensure transparency and the proper use of taxpayer dollars.

    The CR now moves to the Senate where Senate Democrats plan on tacking three additional appropriations bills onto the House CR. Their version of CR will give Obama more flexibility to carry out the billions in sequestration cuts, and it would keep in place the $1.043 trillion spending cap that was included in the House bill. That number is automatically reduced by sequestration to $984 billion. Democrats are confident they haven't added anything Republicans can't support, even though they have added new spending priorities in agriculture, commerce, justice, science, and homeland security.

    The bill will likely be introduced Monday, and Senate votes could come as early as Wednesday.