House passes GOP measure on government funding

A Republican measure to keep the government funded through September passed in the House Wednesday.

Story highlights

  • Continuing resolution now goes to the Senate
  • It extends government funding through September, and includes forced spending cuts
  • Senate Democrats are expected to make changes that will require negotiations
  • Without a funding extension, the government faces a partial shutdown March 27

A Republican measure to keep the government funded through September while softening the impact of forced spending cuts on the military and veterans affairs programs won approval from the GOP-led House on Wednesday.

The proposal, known as a continuing resolution, passed by a 267-151 vote, with more than 50 Democrats joining most Republicans in supporting it.

It now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is expected to make changes to further soften the impact of the forced spending cuts on non-military programs.

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The continuing resolution is needed to extend authorization for government spending beyond the current March 27 deadline.

A partial government shutdown would occur if Congress fails to extend funding authorization by the deadline in three weeks' time, but leaders of both parties say they don't want another political showdown over the legislation.

Under the proposal sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, total government spending for the fiscal year that ends September 30 would adhere to the figure negotiated by President Barack Obama and Congress in 2011.

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The measure also includes the forced spending cuts -- known in Washington jargon as sequestration -- that took effect last Friday when Obama and congressional Republicans were unable to reach a compromise to replace or avert them.

However, it would allow Pentagon and Veterans Affairs officials to shift funding to protect top priority programs, and also include provisions to maintain FBI and border security spending.

"This is a bill to keep the government operating while we debate then how we deal with sequestration," Rogers argued on the House floor before Wednesday's vote.

Democrats responded that the continuing resolution and the forced spending cuts it incorporates would leave vital domestic programs such as Head Start underfunded for the rest of the fiscal year.

They call for Republicans to negotiate an alternative to the forced spending cuts to prevent the harshest effects from occurring.

"This is a bill that reinforces the sequester," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Why spending cuts may be here to stay

      Forced Budget Cuts

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    • 4 myths about the spending cuts

      The political bickering over the automatic spending cuts has done little but cloud the public's understanding of what's going on and why. So we'll try to set the record straight on at least a few oft-repeated misconceptions.
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      Sequestration: Big word, simple thing

      We've had enough of the Beltway's wacky terms. Using fancy-pants words to dramatize and complicate otherwise simple concepts is becoming a habit of lawmakers.
    • CNN Explains: Sequestration

      Here we go: A new round of confrontation between the White House and Congress over the federal budget is in the offing, this time in a new attempt to avert the looming "sequestration" process.
    • Where you'll feel forced spending cuts

      Most Americans will feel the impact of forced budget cuts when their lives intersect with government -- trying to get through airport security to make a flight, visiting a national park, or using federal programs or assistance.
    • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama concentrated his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and said, 'It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth'. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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      Forced budget cuts aren't the only fiscal headache facing Congress. On March 27, the so-called continuing resolution that funds federal programs runs out and the government could shut down.
    • Airport towers get temporary reprieve

      Two days after a Federal Aviation Administration official told contractors that steps were being taken to shut down 168 air traffic control towers on April 1, the agency gave the towers an unexpected reprieve Friday, saying the official's comments were "unauthorized."
    • The US Capitol dome and it's reflection are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 29, 2012. As the fiscal cliff deadline looms, Congress and the White House have still not reached a compromise. If no deal is struck by December 31 at midnight, taxes will automatically go up on both high earners and the middle class, and across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

      The real impact of automatic cuts

      From military training to educational grants to border patrols to hurricane relief, federal agencies face $85 billion in automatic, government-wide spending cuts this year.
    • 57 ways forced cuts could sting

      The sequester would touch many, many government programs and services. These 57 are a somewhat random sampling of what could happen.