Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Senate Passes Bill to End Fiscal Fiasco and Extend Debt Limit

This afternoon the Senate passed a revised version of HR 2775 that would act as a continuing resolution to put a temporary stop to the federal funding fiasco and would also extend the current debt limit. It would not put an end to either problem; it is just a short term band aid to get the government operating while Congress continues to battle over the final spending bill for FY 2014. The bill passed in the Senate by a necessary bipartisan vote of 81 to 18.

Bill Provisions

The new language would generally extend the FY 2013 spending limits (with sequester) until January 15, 2014 and has a an effective date of October 1st. This provision {§118} provides continuity for  programs like CFATS that operate on an authorization that is specifically tied to a spending bill.

The CFATS authorization extension is specifically addressed §131 using the standard language for spending bills. In this case the CFATS authority would be extended until January 15th, 2014.

A lot of other things have been added to this bill that were missing from the various versions and counter-versions of HJ Res 59. This isn’t unusual; there is still horse trading going on the get people to sign-off on the revised language.

House Response

News reports earlier in the day indicated that Rep. Boehner had told the Senate leadership that he would allow a straight-up vote on this measure if it passed in the Senate. There has not yet been a notice of a meeting of the House Rules Committee to formulate the rule (obviously a closed rule with limited debate and no amendments) for the consideration of this bill and there is not yet any mention of this specific bill on the Majority Leader’s web site. The bill was added, however, to the Clerk of the House’s Bills to be Considered page.

BTW: Selection of HR 2775 as the vehicle for the Senate bill is just a tad bit sarcastic. The bill was originally the No Subsidies Without Verification Act that was passed in the House last month. Thus the bill was one of a large numbers of bills that the House Republicans used to try to gut the Obamacare legislation.

Moving Forward

Stripping it of its insurance provisions and effectively not including any of the demands of the conservative faction of the Republican Party is a real slap in the face to those who engineered the government shutdown. No we will just have to wait and see how it is received in the House; too  close to call at this point.

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