Monday, February 28, 2011

Back from Recess, Congress Dives Back into Spending Legislation

Much of this upcoming week in Congress will be spent finding a compromise path toward a short-term (probably two-week) Continuing Resolution (CR) that will keep the Federal government running beyond this Friday's deadline for the current funding measure, leaving the Senate and House breathing room to negotiate a longer-term bill to fund the government through the end of September. The House Republican two-week CR under consideration would cut $4 billion from the budget over that two-week  period, with more than half of the savings coming from 2010 earmarks automatically carried over but not yet spent in the existing CR. The remaining savings would come from the elimination now of programs that the Obama Administration has already proposed to eliminate or drastically reduce, as part of the President's Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal (see this "Terminations, Reductions and Savings" document that accompanied the President's budget proposal).  In it's 2012 budget proposal the Obama Administration identified 120 terminations, reductions and "other areas of savings" that it said would save about $20 billion each year.

The CR, if passed, would provide two full legislative weeks for negotiations to continue on a long-term funding bill before the next scheduled Senate and House recess period, starting March 21.

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