It’s All About the CR
“The CR”—that’s Washington, D.C.’s shorthand for “continuing resolution”: the law under which the government has authority to spend until the end of March. As the government jumps from emergency to emergency, the expiration of the current CR is is the next one.
Last week, the House passed H.R. 933, the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013. That’s a bill to take care of federal government spending for the rest of the fiscal year, which goes through September 30th.
The bill spends about $1.27 trillion, which is about $12,600 per U.S. family or $4,000 per person.
The fight will be around the margins. Many House Democrats opposed the bill because it keeps $85 billion sequester in place. Senate Democrats will try to give the Obama administration more flexibility to sequester funds, letting federal agencies shift money between programs. They’re Republicans and Democrats, so they’ll find ways to fight and bring it down to the wire.
The good news is that Congress might—might—start doing spending on a regular schedule this year. The “No Budget, No Pay Act” means that the House and Senate both have to produce budgets or else they don’t get paid.
On the other hand, President Obama has yet to produce the fiscal year 2014 budget that the law requires him to produce on the first Monday in February. That’s … more than a month ago.
Well, we’ll fight that fire when it arrives. In the meantime, we’ll sit here, white-knuckled, about the expiring continuing resolution. It’s all about the CR.