Stock photo ID: 134176955 By Richard Cavalleri

Budget

Stopgap spending bill passes

The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 11. The measure passed Tuesday night by a vote of 359 to 57.

The current appropriations bills are set to expire on Oct. 1. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

The bill is a slight revision of the stopgap funding measure introduced on Sept. 21. The new bill contains subsides for farmers and ranchers and nearly $8 billion for the extension of a coronavirus relief program that permits jurisdictions to distribute food aid to children and families that would ordinarily receive free or reduced price lunches at schools.

In addition to continuing fiscal year 2020 levels of spending until Dec. 11 or until a new funding package passes Congress, the bill also extends several expiring programs including key transportation and public health programs.

The bill contains legislation raising the cost of premium visa processing fees in order to fund the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which had been poised to furlough more than 13,000 federal employees before congressional intervention. The overall continuing resolution also contains a policy rider that prohibits agencies from firing feds or putting employees on furlough because of funding constraints.

The bill also permits members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to bank excess leave that would been forfeited under ordinary circumstances.

The bill increases first quarter spending for the electronic health record modernization project at the Department of Veterans Affairs so the agency can meet launch goals. The bill also authorizes the Census Bureau to increase the tempo of spending to support the conclusion of the 2020 population count.

Additionally the bill authorizes – but does not fund – an extension of the provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that permits agencies to pay contractors idled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The measure was scheduled to sunset at the close of fiscal year 2020. Defense officials and vendors have sought a dedicated funding pool to make these CARES Act payments to contractors – which are expected to total more than $10 billion.

"It is critical to have [the extension] if we need it to maintain essential contractor support while work plans continue to change in response to COVID-19,” said David Berteau, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council. "We look forward to the passage of the continuing resolution followed quickly by the president's signature to enact it into law."

Reader comments

Tue, Sep 29, 2020

Cortez is more worried about the costs of her hair cuts and her cost of rent in DC. Schumer, Pelosi, Paul, McConnel are just clueless and have contempt for the federal work force. They bicker about things that really have no importance. Grow up and do your jobs. In November after voting is done hopefully these minions will be out.

Fri, Sep 25, 2020

The following is sorely needed to reign in the minions in congress and senate. Term limits should be passed as fast as possible so that you do not have worthless do nothing members getting re-elected and paid these large salaries and benefits. Secondly their salaries should be cut to $50,000 per year and would be docked if the government is shut down. Also provide them housing in a DC public housing facility. No more fact finding bogus junkets, subsidized airport parking. first class airplane tickets and presents and cash from their special interests groups. Remember in November you can vote all of the incumbents out of office.

Thu, Sep 24, 2020

Also another misdirected stooge and minion is Schiff. Do you have anything of importance to do in keeping the federal government funded and operational. Hopefully you will be one of many who will not be re-elected.

Wed, Sep 23, 2020

The lazy stooges in congress and senate have minimally extended effort by doing the least amount of work while getting a large undeserved salary and benefits package. To them go back and get a finalized bill signed and approved. Remember it is election time and hopefully voters will wake up and vote out McConnell, Pelosi, Schumer, Paul, Cortez and the whole collection of minions and idiots who occupy important seats.

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2020 Digital Almanac

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