Senate Passes Bill to Reopen Government, Raise Debt Limit — Protects JPSS and GOES-R

Senate Passes Bill to Reopen Government, Raise Debt Limit — Protects JPSS and GOES-R

After a 16-day partial government shutdown and one day before the government hits the debt limit, the Senate passed a bill this evening to resolve the fiscal crisis.

The Senate used a bill already passed by the House, H.R. 2775, as the legislative vehicle, amending it with the agreement reached by Senate Democratic and Republican leaders earlier today.  As amended, the bill is entitled the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014.  It passed the Senate 81-18.

Action now moves to the House.   Expectations are high that the House also will approve it tonight and the government will return to normal operations at least for a few months.

The main features of the bill are providing funding for the government at current levels through January 15 and raising the debt limit through February 7.   Between now and those deadlines, House and Senate conferees are supposed to find agreement on a long term solution to deficit reduction, a goal that has remained elusive for many years.

The 35-page bill has a number of other provisions, however.  Among them is language that allows that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to spend its funds in a manner to maintain the planned launch dates for its new weather satellites — the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R series.  The language was included in earlier versions of a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded and was retained in this version.  The text of the bill and a summary of its provisions are posted on the Senate Appropriations Committee website.

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