Senate Passes Budget to Avert Shutdown

Yesterday the Senate passed a budget deal to avert a government shutdown. The Senate bill provides a seven-week continuing resolution (CR) to extend financing for government agencies that were due to run out of money this coming Friday. They also passed a short-term extension which would keep the federal government operating through Oct. 4, and serve as an insurance plan if House leaders are unable to win consent from their conference to accept the Senate’s changes to the longer-term funding measure. The Senate plan strips the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 aid — as well as the accompanying offsets — from the bill previously passed by the House. The newly amended CR passed the Senate on a vote of 79-12.

By removing $1 billion in disaster aid for FY 2011 that was in the House-passed bill, the Senate averted a standoff with the House over rescinding $1.6 billion for loan guarantees to promote energy efficiency. The rescission was intended to offset the current-year disaster money, and without the fiscal 2011 funds, the offset was no longer needed. The breakthrough came after officials at the Federal Emergency Management Administration said its Disaster Relief Fund had enough money to edge into the new fiscal year.

House leaders told rank and file lawmakers that they will attempt to move the week-long government funding measure on a quick voice vote. Next week when the House returns, they will vote on a CR that extends funding through November.

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