The president and the Congress stepped back from the brink of a government shutdown last night. In the eleventh hour, the President, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (N-NV) announced that they had reached agreement on a funding bill for FY2011. They also agreed to extend the FY2011 Continuing Resolution (CR) until April 15 to give Congress time to finish writing the bill and pass it in the House and the Senate. After the announcement, the House and Senate passed the new CR.
OMB Director Jacob Lew issued a memo the agency heads last night advising them to continue normal operations.
According to a press release by House Appropriations chair Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) the CR extension includes $2 billion in cuts to housing and transportation programs: $1.5 billion cut to High Speed Rail Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service Capital Assistance, $280 million cut to Capital Investment Grants, $149 million cut to Public Housing Operating Fund, and $25 million reduction to the University Community Fund. Additional detail on the $2 billion cut is provided in a press release by Senate Appropriations Chair Sen. Dan Inouye (D-HI). In the last three CR extensions, Congress has cut FY2011 federal spending by a total of $12 billion.
Both House and Senate leaders expressed confidence that the House and Senate would approve the deal and send the final FY2011 appropriations bill to the president by April 15. Congress is scheduled to begin its two-week spring recess on April 16.