Today the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) for the first six months of FY2013 (H.J. Res 117).  Working quickly, without the partisanship and acrimony that has characterized much of the 112th Congress, the House passed the CR by a vote of 329-91.  The CR will keep the government operating until March 27, 2013. 

The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) supporting the House bill.

Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) praised the House action.  “This CR is a good-faith effort to provide limited but fair funding for government programs.  It fulfills the responsibility of Congress to maintain the continuity of our government and its vital programs and services,” Rogers said in a press release.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) HAC Ranking Democrat, called the CR “truly a bipartisan product.”  Dicks, who has served in Congress since 1977.

The FY2013 CR is funded at an annual level of $1.047 trillion, the amount set last year in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).  Some House Republicans have pushed for a lower funding level ($1.028) that the House approved in the FY2013 Budget Resolution.  However, the democrat-controlled Senate and the president have insisted on the BCA funding level.

The CR is relatively “clean,” including only a few program funding increases and a minimum of so-called “policy riders” (unrelated legislative provisions on specific issues that are attached to bills).  For example, the nuclear weapons modernization effort will have additional funding related to the nuclear weapons stockpile.  The Homeland Security will receive additional funds to sustain its cybersecurity program.  The Veterans Administration will have more funding to address the disability claims workload increase.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund is funded at last year’s level, including the $6.4 billion provided in the BCA for disaster assistance.

The CR freezes pay for federal civilians and members of Congress and their staff through the CR period as recommend by the president last month.  The freeze could be lifted when FY2013 appropriations are finalized next year, as the president implied in his recommendation.  However, Congress has shown very little support for the .5 percent raise included in the president’s FY2013 budget request.

The Senate is expected to pass the CR and the president has indicated he will sign it.