Time Running Short for Current-Year Spending Plan

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Members of Congress went home for their Thanksgiving break amid growing doubts about whether they will be able to pass appropriate budget legislation before the end of the year.

Lawmakers should have passed a dozen spending bills for Fiscal 2015 well before it began Oct. 1. Instead they fell back on a wasteful stop-gap measure that largely continues funding at the previous year’s levels — regardless of whether those amounts make any sense for the current year.

The stop-gap measure, also known as a continuing resolution, expires Dec. 11. So once the election was over, Congress should have moved quickly towards agreement on a final 2015 spending plan. Unfortunately, it has not done so.

Congressional appropriators insist that they are continuing to work on an omnibus plan, and the top appropriators in each party are scheduled to meet with each other next Monday on it. But much still seems undecided, and time is obviously running short.

Meanwhile, Republicans have vehemently objected to the immigration policy changes that President Obama announced last week, and GOP lawmakers continue to debate among themselves how best to respond to his action.

The longer Congress fails to move forward on a 2015 spending plan, the more likely it becomes that lawmakers will resort to another continuing resolution — one that would leave an urgent fiscal mess for the next Congress to clean up before it could start focusing on a budget for Fiscal 2016.

External links:
What’s a Continuing Resolution (Concord Coalition)

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