The U.S. Congress is on pace to approve a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for six months. The House of Representatives already passed the CR, and the Senate is expected to do so this week. The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1, and failure to pass a CR would result in a government shutdown.
The government will be funded at the level prescribed by the debt ceiling law passed last year. However, this does nothing to resolve the sequester, which would result in additional cuts beyond the debt ceiling law’s levels – effective Jan. 1, 2013. Unless something is done to prevent the sequester, the levels in the CR will be reduced to comply with last summer’s debt deal.
Both Houses are preparing to adjourn as the fall campaign season approaches. The House of Representatives will adjourn Sept. 21, returning Nov. 13. The Senate also has a target date of adjournment of Sept. 21. Lawmakers had tentatively planned to be in session through Oct. 5, with the earlier departure underscoring that neither party is ready to reach consensus on major legislation beyond the CR before the election.