House averts government shutdown
The House of Representatives on Oct. 4 passed legislation to keep the federal government operational through Nov. 18, providing lawmakers more time to negotiate on the fiscal year 2012 budget. President Barack Obama signed the bill several hours later, putting an end to the latest risk of a government shutdown.
The stopgap spending bill was approved in a 352-66 vote that lasted approximately 10 minutes. The Senate on Sept. 26 passed the continuing resolution that would provide enough funds to maintain government operations through the first couple of weeks of the new fiscal year. The House then passed a shorter-term version of the measure during a pro forma session Sept. 29.
While the passage averts a shutdown in fiscal 2011, the threat isn't over for the calendar year. Partisan differences in Congress have brought the country to the brink of a government shutdown three times so far this year, and the biggest battle – over the fiscal 2012 spending bill – is yet to come.
Democrats and Republicans have in recent weeks been butting heads over funds for disaster relief needed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The disagreement was about whether some aid for victims of natural disasters should have been offset by cuts elsewhere.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.