President Obama signed spending legislation late last week that will keep the government open through mid-December but leaves federal agencies unable to plan effectively for the fiscal year that begins a week from tomorrow.
The stop-gap measure, also known as an omnibus or continuing resolution, was necessary because the regular budget process collapsed again this year. Congress failed to reach agreement on any of the 12 regular spending bills needed for Fiscal 2015.
The stop-gap legislation largely continues federal funding for 10 weeks at 2014 levels, regardless of any changing needs or priorities.
After adding language to authorize the training of Syrian rebels to help fight terrorists, the House passed the continuing resolution on a 319-108 vote Wednesday. The Senate gave its approval 78-22 on Thursday.
While this is an improvement over the budget impasse that led to a wasteful government shutdown last year, Congress is essentially kicking decisions it should have made months ago into December and perhaps beyond.
If Republicans do well in the November elections, some are expected to push for further delay so the new Congress could make the final decisions for Fiscal 2015.
But that would waste more tax dollars and likely mean a slow start for the next year’s budget process. So lawmakers should focus after the November elections on quickly wrapping up the 2015 budget.
White House Blog Post on Continuing Resolution
Speaker Boehner’s Statement on Continuing Resolution
What Is A Continuing Resolution? (Concord Coalition)