Senate breaks with no continuing resolution
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Mar 15, 2013
The Senate broke for the weekend without passing a continuing resolution to fund the government through Sept. 30. A funding bill is necessary to avert a government shutdown March 27.
The Senate voted down two proposed amendments on March 14, including one filed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would have imposed a federal hiring freeze on all non-essential government employees. Another amendment proposed by Coburn that has yet to reach the floor would eliminate funding for more than 25 federal employees per agency to attend a conference, unless an agency head reports to Congress that “attendance is important to the national interests.” Other amendments include ramping up spending on food inspections, shielding air traffic controllers in rural states from cuts, and scaling back aid to Egypt.
Appropriations chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said that there were still 99 amendments that required action. She called on senators to withdraw or consolidate amendments to help speed consideration of the legislation.
The House already passed a continuing resolution (H.R. 933) that continues government operations through fiscal 2013, with appropriations for Defense, Veterans Affairs and military construction. The Senate measure amends the House continuing resolution to include funding for the Department of Commerce, the Justice Department, agriculture programs, the Food and Drug Administration, science programs. The presence of amendments on behalf of partisan or regional interests could make it difficult for the amended CR to pass in the House.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters on March 14 that, “One way or another we are going to move this bill forward on Monday.” The Senate is due to take up the bill the afternoon of March 18, and a cloture vote is set for that night.
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.