Saturday, December 17, 2011

Continuing Appropriations Continuing Saga

Yesterday the House passed HR 2055, the [New] Continuing Resolution Act of 2012 by a bipartisan vote of 296-121. Bipartisan is kind of a tricky word here, more Democrats (149) than Republicans (147) voted in favor of the bill. The Senate will take up the bill today under a unanimous consent agreement so no cloture vote is necessary.

To keep the government operating through today, both the House and the Senate approved H. Joint Res. 94 yesterday. That resolution amended the existing Continuing Resolution Act of 2012 by extending the expiration date until midnight tonight. The form of that amendment also extended the CFATS program for the same time period.


Before the House adjourned for the weekend yesterday they also passed H. Joint Res. 95, another amendment to the current Continuing Resolution Act of 2012, that would re-extend the deadline of that measure until Friday, December 23rd. This was done just in case the deal on HR 2055 fell through in the Senate. The Senate is not currently scheduled to take up this second Resolution.

Now what I just described for these two resolutions does not exactly track with what I reported in yesterday’s blog. Thursday night Chairman Drier (R,CA) explained (at least three times) that the reason for a short term continuing resolution was the need to get the formal copy of the cobbled-together bill properly prepared for the President’s signature. If that had truly been the case, then HJ Res 94 would have been for more than one day.

An alternative explanation of the purpose of the two part resolution process would be to force the Senate to act today on HR 2055. A full week extension would have allowed for more wheedling, politicking, and deal-making in the Senate. This would also account for why the two resolutions were not brought to the floor of the House until after HR 2055 passed.

The lack of listing H. Joint Res. 95 on the unanimous consent agreement kind of supports this thinking. That would only be true though if the Senate leadership had such a low opinion of the average Senator that they thought they wouldn’t be aware that the House passed the second resolution.

Moving Forward

Oh well, the debate in the Senate today should be short. The Unanimous consent agreement only allows for 15 minutes of debate.

I still haven’t had a chance to closely look at the bill for chemical- and cyber-security provisions. Yesterday was a travel day and it’s hard to read to read while you are driving.

BTW: HR 1540, the DOD authorization bill, passed Thursday in the Senate and should be on the President’s desk.

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