Continuing resolution – not resolved

Short-term Continuing Resolution passes House, not Senate, and suddenly the end of the fiscal year looms.

Fiscal Year 2012 will begin on October 1, 2011. As of today legislation has passed the House, but not the Senate, to fund the government through November 18, 2011, long enough in theory for the chambers to agree on a year-long Continuing Resolution.

Today the Senate voted 59-36 to table the House-passed short-term Continuing Resolution. Another funding bill must pass in both chambers and be signed by the President before October 1 to avoid a government shutdown. Yes, we have to begin talking about a government shutdown again, because both parties are bringing out the “no compromise” rhetoric that we heard during the last couple of high-stakes governmental finance debates.

A primary reason for the bill’s defeat in the Senate was the provision that tempered increased disaster relief spending ($3.65 billion) with a $1.6 billion cut to two green-energy programs. Both chambers agreed on a funding figure for the government more than a month ago, while setting the terms for a debt ceiling increase. But since then, a number of disasters have occurred that made emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a necessity. The Republican House leadership added the cut to green-energy programs to entice more House Republicans to vote for the spending bill. The Senate is expected to amend and then pass the package to eliminate the $1.6 billion offsetting part of the disaster relief funding.