Let’s Make a Deal: Congress Votes to Fund Government for Two More Weeks, Avoids Shutdown
The Senate voted 91-9 Wednesday morning on a measure to the fund the government for an additional two weeks, avoiding a potential shutdown and keeping federal employees on the job. After the current continuing resolution expires this Friday, lawmakers will have until midnight on March 18th to pass another funding measure, or again risk a shutdown.
The bill originated in the House of Representatives, where Democrats refused to support an earlier measure that included $61 billion in federal agency budget cuts over the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Compounded by a veto threat from President Obama, Republicans offered the temporary two week extension earlier this week, which sailed through the House by a 335-91 vote on Tuesday.
Though members of Congress will now have an additional two weeks to negotiate over a long term spending measure, there is little indication that Democrats and Republicans are nearing an agreement. NFFE will continue to oppose Congress’ political gamesmanship on the budget, and advocate for a continuing resolution that supports the valuable work that federal employees do for America.
“This is all very nerve-racking for the federal workforce,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “We’ve got federal workers performing countless critical services for the American people – like caring for veterans and maintaining our military readiness – and they don’t know if they are going to be locked out of work. Congress keeps kicking this can down the road when these budget decisions should have been made long ago. Agencies can’t run efficiently not knowing if they are going to be shutting down tomorrow, or in two weeks.”
Continuing, “You can’t fight last year’s budget wars this year. We have a whole new budget to worry about this year. I’m glad that the government isn’t shutting down, but pumping the brakes like this is no way to run a country. Congress should pass the FY11 budget and move on to this year’s budget negotiations.”