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Senate Inches Toward Final Vote on Temporary Funding Extension

September 21, 2012—After approving, 67-31, a procedural motion Sept. 20, the Senate is poised to approve a continuing resolution (CR, H.J.Res. 117) to essentially extend FY 2012 funding levels through March 27, 2013. The House passed the bill Sept. 13 [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 14], so Senate approval will send the measure to the president’s desk.

At press time, senators were scheduled to vote on cloture at 1 a.m. Sept. 22, with a vote on final passage expected at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 23. The chamber may consider the bill sooner if Senate leaders reach agreement on whether also to consider unrelated legislation sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is running for reelection. Republicans seek to avoid a vote on the Tester bill.

The stopgap is the only “must-pass” bill on Congress’s agenda before lawmakers leave Washington for a pre-election recess. The agreement ensures that the federal government will continue operating once the new federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1, though Congress has yet to complete any of the annual spending bills. If the CR is enacted, the 113th Congress will need to finalize FY 2013 spending levels for all federal discretionary programs by next March.

Though the CR buys Congress six months with respect to annual appropriations, lawmakers still face a daunting “to-do” list once they return to the Capitol in November. An array of tax provisions, the physician payment “patch,” and unemployment benefits, await Congressional action before expiring at the end of the calendar year. Another vote to raise the debt ceiling also looms on the horizon.

Further, the CR does not include provisions to address the impending sequestration of federal programs, scheduled to take effect Jan. 2, 2013, unless Congress approves legislation to avert the funding cuts beforehand (see related story). 


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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