The Budget Impact of The Second Continuing Resolution
The second continuing resolution [CR] for fiscal year 2011 is far more than a straight-forward, stop-gap spending bill. It is a sprawling, 423-page measure – with four “divisions” and 10 titles – that includes major policy changes, such as food safety legislation, well beyond the presumed intent to simply keep government agencies funded and running. Thus, the legislation – made necessary because not one of the regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011 has been enacted – is just another example of an agenda of higher spending and bigger government.
According to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO], the overall cost of base discretionary spending in the bill (H.R. 3082) is $1,090 billion. The measure also adds $159 billion to continue war-fighting efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total cost to $1,296 billion. But the war-fighting amounts are designated as “emergency” spending. Hence the Majority claims the bill holds base spending at approximately the same level as fiscal year 2010 – roughly $1,091 billion.
But this claim ignores the significant spending increases of the past several years. Since fiscal year 2008, base discretionary spending has increased by 17 percent, from $933 billion to $1.09 trillion. The larger increases were in non-defense discretionary spending, which rose 23 percent, and the CR essentially remains at this elevated level.