House passes symbolic bill to spur budget debate

The House passed a bill today that would make an earlier House-passed fiscal 2011 appropriations bill law if the Senate does not approve a spending bill by April 6. It would also prohibit members of Congress and the president from getting paid if there is more than a 24-hour lapse in appropriations for any federal agency.

The bill is seen largely as symbolic, because it too would need Senate approval.

Democrats strongly opposed the measure and questioned the constitutionality of the "force of law" bill (H.R. 1255), which passed by a vote of 221-202, according to The Hill. Funding for the government under the current continuing resolution expires April 8.

“If the House has not received a message from the Senate before April 6, 2011, stating that it has passed a measure providing for the appropriations for the departments and agencies of the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, the provisions of H.R. 1, as passed by the House on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law,” the legislation passed today states.

The deep spending cuts included in H.R. 1 were rejected by Senate Democrats, and President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill if it reached his desk.

Obama said today a government shutdown would hurt the nation’s economic recovery, and he believes congressional leaders from both parties are close to reaching an agreement on how much spending should be cut.

“We know that both sides are close; we know that a compromise is within reach,” Obama said during remarks in Landover, Md., The Hill reports. “And we also know that if these budget negotiations break down, it could shut down the government and jeopardize our economic recovery.”

Vice President Joe Biden met with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Democratic leaders earlier this week to discuss the fiscal 2011 budget and told reporters later that good progress had been made.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 FedEmployee

First, we would not be in this mess if the Democratically controlled congress passed a budget last year, prior to 1 October when the new fisacl year started. Second, why does the author, and Democrats, characterize HR1 as having deep spending cuts? The last I heard, the budget is $3.6T. The cuts in HR1, $61B, represent 1.69% of the budget. For a family income of $50K, that represents cutting $845 out of your budget. If you found out today that you were going to have 2% (for the sake of argument) less income, could you not figure out how to adjust your budget?

Thu, Apr 7, 2011

They are putting party before duty and that action is causing them to fail. It is time for compromise. Then when this budget gets passed, immediately start on next year's discussion. There are important issues to discuss, but shutting down the government is a failure on the records of this congress.

Wed, Apr 6, 2011

Americans are getting what they deserve. For decades, we have put our own fleshly desires in front of the social good. Now we are starting to wallow in those choices.

Tue, Apr 5, 2011

Didn't they start off this Congress by reading aloud the Constitution?? Maybe they should go back and read it again because 221 people weren't listening.

Tue, Apr 5, 2011

agree with all balanced comments. It doesn't matter who is in power or the minority, name calling and inactivity are the culprit.The Tea Party Republicans are not the cause, they are new the problem is decades old.

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