Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Avoid Government Shutdown
The House and the Senate passed a clean continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government from October 1, the start of fiscal year (FY) 2016, through December 11 of this year. The stopgap spending measure provides $1.017 trillion in funding for federal agencies, essentially flat compared to FY 2015 levels.
The CR, which keeps federal funding for Planned Parenthood intact, was first passed by the Senate by a vote of 78-20 before being sent to the House. All 20 Senate votes in opposition came from Republicans. In the House, the CR passed by a vote of 277-151. The bill garnered 91 Republican votes in favor of passage, with no Democrats in opposition.
The President signed the bill into law, but has vowed not to sign another short-term funding measure should lawmakers be unable to strike a long-term budget agreement by the new December deadline.
Congress must act by December 11 to pass individual spending bills, extend the current CR funding the federal government, or negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement.
While negotiations continue, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has taken action to begin grouping individual spending bills together into packages for votes on the Senate floor. Eleven of the twelve fiscal year 2016 spending bills have been put into four groups, known as "minibuses." While all have been approved by Senate appropriators in committee, Democrats have already blocked floor votes on the individual spending bills in opposition to sequestration level spending caps.