Are you surprised that Congress utilized another CR to fund the federal government?
If so, you really shouldn’t be. The national government’s budget calendar runs from October 1st through September 30th. Every year, Congress must pass and the President must sign 13 separate appropriations bills by October 1st to fund all of the national government’s departments, agencies and programs for the following year. In 2013, Congress failed to agree on any regular appropriations bills prior to the start of fiscal year 2014.
You might recall that an attempt was made to pass the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 prior to October 1, 2013, but the House and Senate could not agree on its provisions, leading to the United States to a prolonged federal government shutdown and furlough of more than 800,000 federal workers. That shutdown involved House Republicans’ attempt to tie the CR to a defunding or delay of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The federal government resumed operations on October 17, 2013, after the passage of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, a CR, that provided funding until January 15, 2014. On January 15, 2014, Congress passed another CR, H.J.Res. 106, to provide funding until January 18, 2014. Congress finally passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, an omnibus appropriations bill, on January 17, 2014 to provide funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2014.
A Continuing Resolution (CR) must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Generally, a CR funds agencies or programs for a month or two at the same funding level as the previous year. The main purpose of a CR is to keep the government running long enough for the Congress and President to work out an agreement on all 13 appropriations bills.
Time will tell whether the Continuing Resolution has now become the default method of funding, replacing agreement on 13 appropriations bills.
What do you think of Congress’ increasing reliance on the Continuing Resolution? As always, we would love to hear from you!