Having failed to send the President even one completed appropriations bill so far this year, Congress nevertheless has made sure to fund itself while other agencies contend with temporary funding in a continuing resolution [CR]. Fiscal year 2010 starts at midnight next week Thursday, and without a CR non-essential government activities would shut down at that point.
The measure, brought to the House floor today, is attached to the conference report for Legislative Branch appropriations. Agencies funded by all 11 remaining appropriations bills – with a few exceptions noted below – will be funded at fiscal year 2009 levels for one month, through 31 October 2009. The legislation also contains stopgap funding for the United States Postal Service.
The situation surrounding this legislation reverses the approach advocated by the previous Democratic President. In October 1995, when only two of 13 appropriations had been completed, President Clinton vetoed the Legislative Branch conference report that Congress sent him. His veto message said in part:
[I]t would be inappropriate to provide full-year regular funding for Congress and its offices while funding for most other activities of Government remains incomplete, unresolved, and uncertain.
As I said two months ago, I don’t think Congress should take care of its own business before it takes care of the people’s business. I stated that if the congressional leadership were to follow through on its plan to send me its own funding bill before finishing work on the rest of the budget, I would veto it. I am now following through on that commitment.
In his last year in office, President Clinton also vetoed the fiscal year 2001 Legislative Branch appropriations bill under similar circumstances. Such a response is not expected from the current President.
Read the full report here.