Saturday, February 26, 2011

Draft Short-Term Continuing Resolution

Yesterday afternoon I included in a post about congressional hearings for next week a comment that we should be seeing a draft of a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would extend the current March 4th deadline for coming up with an FY 2011 appropriations bill. Well, a couple of hours later the House Rules Committee updated their web site where they discuss the bills that are scheduled to come to the floor of the House in the upcoming week. Sure enough there is a House Joint Resolution (currently unnumbered), Further Continuing Appropriations Amendments, 2011, listed as being considered ‘pursuant to a rule’.

This resolution would extend the current March 4th deadline to March 18th, giving Congress another two weeks to deal with the issue. It amends the current continuing resolution {the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (PL 111–242)}. As one would expect, there are some changes to the amounts authorized under this proposed extension. For the chemical security related provisions of the changes are really hard to determine with any exactitude as they are included in much larger portions of the DHS budget. So the best we can do is look at how the spending for larger organizations that contain chemical security spending would fare. These larger programs are:

• TSA Surface Transportation Security (includes the freight rail security program) spending – No change [This is an effective increase from provisions of HR1 from $105 Million to $138 Million]

• Coast Guard Operating Expenses (includes MTSA) spending reduced from $6.9 Billion to $6.8 Billion [Effectively the same as HR1]

• NPPD Infrastructure Protection and Information Security (includes CFATS and CERT) spending increased from $878 Million to $880 Million [This is an effective increase from the provisions of HR 1 from $805 Million]
The way the expiration date of the current CR is changed this proposed short-term CR also extends the current authorization for the CFATS program until March 18th.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out this week. There’s enough here in the overall proposal to upset both Freshmen Republicans in the House and Senate Democrats; which may mean it’s a workable compromise.

HEARING Notice: The Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the rule for the consideration of this Resolution on Monday at 5:00 pm.

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