House, Senate Pass Short-Term Funding Bill

U.S Capitol A House vote on passage of the short-term bill that would keep agencies operable through mid-December is expected Sept. 30. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg News)

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Congress on Sept. 30 sent the White House a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

President Joe Biden enacted the bill, which extends funding authority through mid-December. The federal funding deadline was Sept. 30.

The vote was 230-201 in the House and 72-25 in the Senate.



The stopgap funding bill keeps at current levels the operations at the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as other agencies. Final action on the funding stopgap is likely to mark an end for Congress’ legislative agenda leading up to the fall elections.

Patrick Leahy

Leahy

“This is only a temporary measure,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. “I am committed to completing the work of the committee before the end of this Congress. Running on autopilot after December with rising inflation would be irresponsible. It would leave priorities — of both Republicans and Democrats — underfunded and under-resourced. The federal government funds programs that the American people rely on, and we should do the job they sent us here to do.”

On the House side, Leahy’s counterpart, Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), shared a similar view in calling for the bill’s passage.

DeLauro

“We have an obligation to enact transformative spending bills that help lower the cost of living, support working families, create American jobs, and combat climate change,” DeLauro said.

Leahy, DeLauro and their colleagues on the funding panels explained that they intend to ready fiscal 2023 appropriations legislation prior to mid-December. Avoiding a need for another short-term continuing resolution measure is their aim. As DeLauro put it, “This continuing resolution keeps the government open and gives us the time we need to complete the critical work of ensuring our 2023 bills do just that.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)

Shelby

Several senior Republicans had endorsed action on a short-term funding bill. Appropriations Committee ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), declared: “We have made significant progress toward a continuing resolution that is as clean as possible.”

“Passing a clean [continuing resolution],” Shelby said, “will allow us to focus on completing the [fiscal year 2023] appropriations process before the end of this year.”

Relatedly, the White House announced its endorsement of the short-term bill. “We believe that this could be averted,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Sept. 26 when asked about a federal government shutdown.

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“This is not the first time that we are in a position where … we’re talking about the [continuing resolution],” she said, adding that it was done last year, and emphasizing that Congress is urged to act on the measure.

Tucked into the short-term continuing resolution is aid for Ukraine’s war defense, emergency funds for post-hurricane recovery efforts in the Southeast and the Caribbean and funding for certain low-income housing programs.

In July, Senate Democrats unveiled fiscal 2023 legislation that would dedicate $367.5 million for the safety operations and programs division at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For the agency’s safety grants division, senators called for $506.1 million. The FMCSA Senate proposal matched House-passed funding levels as well as the White House’s request.

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