Congress Considers Minibus Bills and Continuing Resolution

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House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement yesterday on the first conference report of the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2012. Referred to as a “mini-bus,” the agreement combines three of the twelve appropriations bills: Agriculture, Commerce/ Justice/ Science, and Transportation/ Housing and Urban Development.

According to the House Appropriations Committee, the funding level in the agreement  “upholds the overall regular base discretionary level of $1.043 trillion as agreed to in the Budget Control Act (BCA).” The agreement includes $2.3 billion in disaster relief funding.

The conference agreement also includes a continuing resolution (CR) to fund all agencies not included in the “mini-bus” through Dec. 16, 2011. Federal agencies are currently being funded with a continuing resolution set to expire this Friday.

The new CR would prevent a government shutdown and provide Congress with additional time to complete the nine appropriations bills that will remain if the conference report is enacted. Both the House and Senate are expected to act on the conference report  this week.

Also this week, the Senate began considering a second minibus bill which may combine the Energy/Water, Financial Services/ General Government, and State/ Foreign Operations bills. On the other side of the Capitol, the House is expected to vote on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.

External links:
House Appropriations Committee Press Release
House Appropriations Committee Summary of Conference Report
Text of Conference Report
Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference
Statement of House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks
Status of Appropriations Legislation for Fiscal Year 2012

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