Another Short-Term CR?
A short-term continuing resolution (CR) is looking more and more likely each day. With few details being reported about the current budget negotiations on Capitol Hill on spending levels for the remainder of the fiscal year, we're getting closer to March 18--when the current two-week CR expires.
With the Democratic proposal to cut about $5 billion from current levels and the Republican proposal to cut about $58 billion failing in the Senate earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee has proposed a three week CR that cuts $6 billion from current levels, giving lawmakers more time in current negotiations while also keeping Congress on track to cut about $60 billion in discretionary spending this year. That works out to about $2 billion each week. About $3.5 billion of the cuts would come from 25 different discretionary programs, and $2.6 billion would come from earmarks.
If lawmakers adopt this proposal, it would mark the sixth continuing resolution this year. Clearly, this is no way to effectively budget or give agencies time to prepare for changes in funding levels. If this isn't evidence that our budget process is badly broken, we don't know what is.
We hope lawmakers can decide soon on this year's spending levels so that we can focus on all areas of the budget and the real drivers of future deficits and debt.