President Obama signed a FY2012 Continuing Resolution (CR) that will keep the government running until November 18, 2011.
The Senate had passed the CR last week, but because the House was in recess, Congress agreed to a stopgap CR until Oct 4 to allow the House time to consider the bill when it returned. Yesterday, the House passed (352Y-66N) the longer-term CR and the president signed it early this morning.
The CR funds government agencies between October 1 and November 18 at a rate of $1.043 trillion, the amount for FY2012 set in the Budget Control Act of 2011. It also provides (without offsetting cuts elsewhere) $2.65 billion in FY2012 for disaster relief assistance for Hurricane Irene, recent wildfires, floods and tornadoes, the Mid-Atlantic earthquake, and other natural disasters.
Congressional attention on the budget will now turn to deliberations by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The committee has until November 23rd to report a legislative proposal to achieve $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction savings. If the committee fails to produce recommended legislation, automatic procedures (sequestration) will be initiated to cut $1.2 trillion more from federal budgets through FY2021. Of this amount, $600 billion would come from security budgets, including defense.
Meanwhile, House and Senate Appropriators will try to complete as many of the FY2012 appropriations bills as they can before the CR ends.
To date, the House has passed six appropriations bills and the Senate only one. Less than seven weeks is probably not enough time for Congress to pass and send to the president twelve separate appropriations bills. So, in the coming weeks, there will likely be increasing talk on the hill about a FY2012 omnibus appropriations bill that includes some or maybe all twelve bills