Senate Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement yesterday and passed a FY2012 Continuing Resolution (CR) through November 18 (79Y-12N) and sent it to the House.
The Senate-passed CR calls for funding 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 $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. None of the disaster funding is offset by cuts to other programs.
The Senate agreement came after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assured Senate leaders that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had enough disaster funding available to last until the current fiscal year ends on Friday. As a result, the CR did not have to include $1 billion in FY2011 emergency funding (included in the House-passed CR) and the Senate could avoid the offset issue that had divided Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate.
Reid first presented a FY2012 CR that included FY2012 disaster funding at $3.65 billion without offsets. But, when that bill failed on a procedural vote, Reid proposed a CR that only included $2.65 billion for FY2012 disaster funding. Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed and the bill passed.
Because the House is in recess this week, the Senate also passed a short-term stopgap CR through October 4 to avert a government shutdown. The House is expected to approve the one-week CR by unanimous consent vote this week while in pro forma session and then take up the Senate agreement when it returns return next week. According to news reports, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has expressed support for the Senate agreement.