Congress passed and sent to the President a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds government agencies through December 3, 2010, Anxious to leave Washington and hit the campaign trail, the Senate passed the bill Wednesday evening to avoid a government shutdown and the House followed suit early this morning. The president is expected to sign the bill before the new fiscal year begins tomorrow. The CR essentially allows agencies to fund FY2011 programs at the FY2010 level. During this time, no new starts are permitted nor are programs allowed to increase production rates above the FY2010 rate. Senate republicans failed in attempts to amend the bill to reduce total FY2011 spending levels below the CR levels. The CR does include a few add-ons, such as funding to maintain (at the FY2010 fourth quarter level) air marshal coverage levels on flights and the number of border patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border, and to accommodate spending for the START treaty. The bill also addresses some DoD authorization needs during the period of the CR, extending the application period for retroactive stop-loss benefits and the authority to execute the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP). However, lawmakers rejected requests from the administration to include some $20 billion in additional funding for Pell Grants, the Postal Service, and implementing costs for the healthcare and financial reform bills. Congress will address these issues when it returns in November to deal with the FY2011 appropriations bills and other legislation, such as the FY2011 Defense Authorization bill. Defense Highlights will continue to update readers on congressional action as it occurs.