Debates on Spending Bills Continue as Deadline Nears

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With federal spending legislation set to expire next week, appropriators continue to work on a tardy “omnibus” plan for the rest of Fiscal 2015. Republican leaders are weighing their options for using the spending bill in some way short of a government shutdown to underscore their disapproval of President Obama’s new immigration policies.

The omnibus plan would incorporate the 2015 spending legislation that Congress was supposed to have passed well before the fiscal year began Oct. 1.

After failing to approve any of the 12 required appropriations bills, Congress this fall passed a stop-gap measure, or “continuing resolution,” that keeps the government open only through Dec. 11. Continuing resolutions largely maintain funding at the previous year’s levels regardless of new circumstances and priorities.

Some Republicans are floating the idea of an omnibus package that would fund most of the government through the end of the fiscal year combined with a new short-term continuing resolution for immigration-related spending.

Given that two months have passed since Fiscal 2015 began, it would be best to move as quickly as possible to ensure that funding authority remains in place for the full year, clearing the decks for the new Congress to start work on the next year’s budget — and the country’s broader fiscal challenges.

Disagreements on funding for immigration-related spending and the president’s executive authority can be taken up in negotiations over Fiscal 2016 spending.

External links:
What Is a Continuing Resolution? (Concord Coalition)
Everything You Need to Know About Appropriations (CRFB)

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