Congress Passes Continuing Resolution | Citizens Against Government Waste

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution

The WasteWatcher

On September 28, 2016, the U.S. Senate and, a few hours later, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that would continue the funding of the government through December 9, 2016 – narrowly missing the last day of this fiscal year, which ends on the September 30th.  Since Congress failed to pass the 12 individual appropriations bills (or a budget) before the beginning of the new fiscal year, the continuing resolution (C.R.) was necessary to prevent another government shutdown.

The C.R. provides ongoing appropriations (at FY 2016 levels) for all government operations, but adds funds for certain other projects, as well:  $1.1 billion for Zika programming, $500 million in flood relief for Louisiana (and other states), and funds for the presidential inauguration preparation.  Not included in the C.R., but added to the House’s water resources bill to ensure passage of the C.R., is $170 million for Flint, Michigan (and other municipalities).  The Senate’s water bill contains $220 million for Flint, so a conference committee will decide the funding levels in Congress’ post-election “lame-duck” session.

Fortunately, other controversial provisions were not included, such as requirements for publicly traded companies to disclose political spending and language that would revive the Export-Import Bank.

More to the point, Congress has failed again:  October 1, 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary since Congress last completed its annual appropriations on time, before recessing for elections and district work.  While some look forward to another attempt at regular order when the 115th Congress convenes in January, many are concerned by the damaging effects of yet another “catch-all” omnibus appropriations bill in December.  Sadly, omnibuses and C.R.s are becoming “regular order” in the Capitol.  What was once the exception has become the rule.

Congress can do better.