The Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011

H.R. 3081

On 30 September 2010, President Obama signed a continuing resolution [CR] (Public Law 111-242), a stopgap measure to provide temporary funding for Federal agencies through 3 December 2010. Although its total spending is roughly the same as the past year’s, the CR exploits two already-scheduled spending declines to boost funding in other favored areas. Consequently, its bottom line is actually $8.4 billion higher than if Congress had simply frozen funding agency by agency. (Most of the spending increases are termed “anomalies,” and are described later in this analysis.) Moreover, the House can still increase spending substantially after the CR expires.

The legislation (H.R. 3081) also violates the Congressional Budget Act by breaching levels allocated to two of the 12 Appropriations subcommittees, but the point of order that would lie against the bill was waived.

The CR is necessary because none of the annual appropriations bills needed to keep the government running had been enacted by the start of the new fiscal year, 1 October 2010. Without it, all Federal Government activities not deemed “essential” would have shut down.

When calculated on an annualized basis, as is customary, the CR provides $1.088 trillion in base discretionary budget authority [BA] when calculated on an annualized basis, about $2.7 below the fiscal year 2010 enacted level. It also provides an annualized $159.4 billion for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a reduction of $4 billion compared to 2010.

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