The House Appropriations Committee unveiled a stopgap spending measure on Sept. 10 that would continue funding the Pentagon at current levels, and nearly $90 billion for the Afghanistan war.
If approved by both chambers, the spending measure would fund all federal activities through March 27. It appears unlikely Congress will approve most annual spending measures either before Election Day or during a November-December lame duck session.
The bill adheres to an agreement between congressional leaders and the White House for a government-wide $26.6 billion cut to discretionary accounts from fiscal 2011 levels.
The House CR would provide the Pentagon $88.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other ongoing global operations, according to an Appropriations Committee statement.
The GOP-controlled panel also included in the measure language that would release “additional funding for nuclear weapons modernization efforts, to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.”
Some congressional Republicans question whether the Obama administration is abiding by a deal on nuclear funding under which the White House agreed to modernize some existing atomic weapons.
As the political climate in Washington in recent years has turned bitterly partisan, lawmakers have used the often-loathed continuing resolutions to keep the federal government operating.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, and its ranking Democrat, Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington state, both panned the use of CRs.
Rogers acknowledged in a statement that “this bill essentially punts on the core duty of Congress to complete its annual appropriations and budget work.”
“I can’t stress enough how important it is that Congress return to consider regular appropriations bills,” Dicks said in his own statement. “A continuing resolution does not provide the guidance federal programs need to operate effectively.”
Pentagon officials and defense industry executives say the use of stopgap measures hinders their ability to properly run programs and make business decisions.