Issue Date: March 21, 2011
Congress has again avoided a shutdown of the federal government by passing the sixth temporary funding measure for fiscal 2011. The latest so-called continuing resolution will fund the government through April 8 and cut $6 billion from the current operating budget.
The measure was passed by the House of Representatives on March 15 and at C&EN press time was expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Obama before the previous stopgap measure expired on March 18. The cuts in the new continuing resolution are for programs that the President had recommended for termination and for earmarks that had been extended in previous stopgap measures.
With nearly half of fiscal 2011 over, Congress is still working on setting a budget for the year. Congressional leaders in both houses are now indicating that a deal is likely to emerge soon that will alleviate the need for additional short-term continuing resolutions.
"While a short-term funding measure such as this is not the preferable way to fund the government, at this point it is vital," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold D. Rogers (R-Ky.). Calling the 2011 budget "long, long overdue," he added, "I agree with many of my colleagues that we must get down to business and come to a final agreement as quickly as possible."
Passing a final 2011 budget, however, is likely to be complicated by conservative Republicans in the House, who are looking for more significant cuts. For instance, Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas), chairman of the Science, Space & Technology Committee, said in a statement that called for a long-term budget, "These [continuing resolutions] are piecemeal and do not do enough to address spending cuts, the national deficit, or job creation."
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