By Debbie Gregory.
A temporary spending bill signed by President Obama will keep the funded through April of next year, and includes the Pentagon’s highest procurement priorities.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers introduced the short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) (H.R. 2028) to prevent a government shutdown and continue funding for federal programs and services until April 28, 2017. The legislation also contains funding for emergency disaster relief.
The Senate voted 63-36 to pass the 70-page continuing resolution that was released by the House Appropriations Committee.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain was one of 13 Republicans who voted nay. McCain characterized the bill as shortchanging defense.
“This is absolutely disgraceful,” McCain said. “We’re going to kick the can down the road because we failed to fund our troops. The fiscal irresponsibility [of] another continuing resolution, which will force the Department of Defense to operate for seven months of the fiscal year without a real budget. Tell me one company or corporation in the world, small or large, that has their budget frozen for seven months of the year and you expect to operate with any kind of efficiency. You can’t.”
Congress ended this year by abandoning regular order, as GOP leaders expect to give the new administration a chance to put its stamp on federal spending. Congress only passed one of 12 appropriations bill this year.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Defense Secretary Ash Carter complained that the lengthy continuing resolution, through the presidential transition, was “unprecedented and unacceptable” and urged Congress to reject it.
The CR extends funding for operations for most federal agencies, programs and services and maintains the current budget cap level of $1.07 trillion put into place under the Budget Control Act of 2011.