The debt ceiling battle is over, but the war over government spending is just beginning and the next big deadline is just 59 days away.The federal government’s fiscal year ends on September 30, and Congress has made little progress on funding the government beyond that.
The House has at least five appropriations bills waiting to be acted on, while the Senate hasn’t yet moved forward on any spending bills.
The government did not pass a budget for fiscal year 2011 until April, operating on a series of continuing resolutions for periods of weeks to months, which led to several shutdown scares. In April they reached a deal less than an hour before the government was to run out of money.
With just eleven legislative days scheduled for the House of Representatives in the month of September, Congress is set for yet another nail-biter.
Complicating the situation further, is that the deficit reduction package included in the debt ceiling plan signed into law yesterday includes caps on government expenditures at $25 billion below current levels.
Congress and the President Barack Obama need to decide how to allocate the allowed $684 billion for security and $359 billion in non-security discretionary spending.
After the last-minute negotiations on previous continuing resolutions and the contentious debt limit negotiations that were resolved only hours before the borrowing deadline hit, you can bet that Congress will take these talks to the brink too.
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