House Expected to Pass Two-Week CR Today

House Expected to Pass Two-Week CR Today

The House is expected to pass a two-week Continuing Resolution (CR) today that would extend government spending at FY2010 levels for most agencies through March 18. The bill, H. J. Res. 44, contains $4 billion in spending reductions.

The $4 billion reduction is achieved by eliminating earmarks and cutting spending by small amounts in a variety of government agencies. NASA is not affected by those cuts. The bill does not contain language lifting the restriction on terminating the Constellation program that was in the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Under the rule approved by the House Rules Committee yesterday the bill can be debated on the floor for only one hour and no amendments are permitted.

What the Senate will do this week remains unclear. It could agree to the House-passed bill or pass one of its own. Rumors are that the White House wants a 30-day bill instead of a two-week bill. The two chambers have until midnight Friday to reach agreement or force a government shutdown.

What will happen for the rest of FY2011 remains up in the air. It is conceivable that Congress would continue to pass short-term CRs if they cannot reach agreement on a version to last through the end of September. That would pose problems for all the government departments and agencies who would have no certainty about their funding levels. Compared to the deep cuts passed by the House on February 19, however, it might be preferable for some agencies if a series of short-term CRs meant they could retain their FY2010 funding levels. Under the February 19 bill, for example, NASA would lose $601 million compared to its FY2010 level.

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