Congress tries again to prevent government shutdown
New legislation would keep the government running until April 8
House Republicans today introduced a second short-term funding extension to prevent a government shutdown while lawmakers continue to negotiate a long-term plan to keep the government operating this fiscal year.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced a continuing resolution (H.J. Res 48) to fund the federal government through April 8 and cut spending by an estimated $6 billion. The bill would reduce or terminate 25 government programs, some of which were targeted for similar action in President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget request.
Funding for the government is currently set to expire March 18.
Federal shutdown once again threatens
“A government shutdown is not an option, period,” Rogers said. “While short-term funding measures are not the preferable way to fund the government, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people until Congress comes to a final, long-term agreement.”
The cuts in the newly introduced legislation were also included in H.R. 1, the funding bill that passed in the House last month but failed in the Senate on March 9. A budget alternative introduced by Democrats also fell short in the Senate.
The Obama administration released a statement after the Senate votes this week urging congressional leaders to reach a compromise on funding for the remainder of fiscal 2011.
Democrats have signaled they are willing to make some sacrifices, but it’s unclear when lawmakers will be able to come to a consensus on this year’s budget.
In the meantime, Rogers’ measure would buy Congress an additional three weeks to hash out differences over the budget. The House is expected to take up the measure next week.
Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.