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Congress Passed a Continuing Resolution Today, But What the Heck Is It?

by Countable | 4.28.17

On Friday morning the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for a week, until May 5, in an attempt to avert a partial government shutdown. The Senate approved the continuing resolution before the Friday night deadline as well, though there continues to be wrangling around what Democrats call "poison pill riders" at the 11th hour.

That wrangling will continue throughout next week as Congress strives to agree on a spending bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year, but let’s stop here for a moment and get clear on what a continuing resolution is.

What is a continuing resolution?

A continuing resolution is one of three types of appropriations (spending) legislation — regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental appropriations bills. Regular appropriations bills are the twelve standard bills approved by Congress to enact the budget for the full fiscal year, October 1 - September 30. Each bill provides funding for a specific government function or group of functions, such as defense or transportation. Supplemental appropriations bills add funding for projects not originally included in the annual budget. Disaster relief is a good example.

A continuing resolution continues existing federal spending at levels established in the last approved regular appropriations bill for a finite period of time. They get used when a funding deadline is reached and a regular appropriations bill has not yet been passed, or funding does not exist to cover previously approved regular appropriations. If, for instance, the president and Congress have not approved a regular appropriations bill by October 1, then they can approve a continuing resolution to fund the government according to levels specified in the previous year’s budget until they come to an agreement.

With this latest continuing resolution, Congress has bought themselves another week to negotiate over spending through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Lawmakers will either need to pass an omnibus appropriations bill — basically all twelve appropriations bills rolled into one — to rearrange spending priorities or they’ll be faced with passing another continuing resolution that funds the government at current levels before they reach their deadline at midnight on May 5.

Assuming they can reach an agreement by the new May 5 deadline then they approve another continuing resolution to fund the federal government at already approved levels until September 30 or use what is called an omnibus appropriations bill to rearrange spending priorities.

Should Congress approve a continuing resolution by the new May 5 deadline to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year or attempt to re-prioritize spending through an omnibus bill? Use the "Take Action" button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: pixabay / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(90)
  • Marni
    04/28/2017
    ···

    You guys have literally only one real job. Fund the government. Don't destroy the people who put you into office and pay your bills (you're welcome), don't make selfish choices, and do your jobs. Please also get rid of the crazy in the Oval Office who makes us all look dumb.

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  • Lori
    04/28/2017
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    So basically you're just prolonging the drama? Trump needs to show us his taxes before you guys do anything else!

    Like (64)
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  • Steve
    04/28/2017
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    This is getting ridiculous!! Regardless of who's in office, we the people have to go through this every year. Get your acts together and pass the damn budget.

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  • Jill
    04/28/2017
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    Congress Puts everything on hold til you get a Republican in the White House. That happens and you still can't do your jobs? You don't get to dictate what you want it in the budget, work with everyone in Congress to find compromises or commitment n ground. Forget about adding in Trump/Ryan Care and Trumps wall/folly. The budget isn't about his fragile ego. Get on with it...NOW!

    Like (54)
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  • Marilyn
    04/28/2017
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    Do your job.pass a spending bill and quit the stalling and calling each other names. How old are you people?

    Like (33)
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  • Joanne
    04/28/2017
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    No continuing resolution, if I don't do my job I don't get paid , the same should go for you guys!!!

    Like (29)
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  • Nancy
    04/28/2017
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    You folks need to leave Medicare and Social Security alone. You need to cut the defense budget by 20% at least. You need to get rid of Betsy DeVos in education period and Trump better show his taxes and you better get the investigation into him his campaign and Russia out there no more fooling

    Like (24)
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  • Derek
    04/28/2017
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    Just shut it down and hand it over to the banks and corporations. That's what you do anyway. Socialize the losses and privatize the gains. Screw the environment, the sick, and the future generations. Greed wins.

    Like (20)
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  • Sarah
    04/28/2017
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    A continuing resolution does not count as funding the government. Fund the government, without any riders that strip away services and rights to the American people. Do not fund the wall. I repeat do not fund the wall. Do not repeal the ACA. Do not endorse Trump's tax plan.

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  • Blair
    04/28/2017
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    The government hasn't had a decent budget passed in years (probably a decade) and we have been running on continuing resolutions. It would be one thing if Congress could pass a budget and when things get tough every now and then they could pass a continuing resolution, but at this point we see more of CR than a working budget.

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  • Teri
    04/28/2017
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    Those of you that voted for this, should be ashamed !

    Like (12)
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  • Richard
    04/28/2017
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    The only thing that seems certain these days is that our kids are screwed and every administration adds to their debt. Taxes have got to be raised and spending has got to be lowered. They need to budget just like any household.

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  • Jan
    04/29/2017
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    Seriously? I think that we should get money out of politics, abandon the current Oligarchy and return to a Democratic Republic. Our national priorities are so far out of order. How many millions are we spending to deport "criminals" Who have records of non-violent low-level crimes with families who have lived, worked, and paid taxes here for years? Should companies really profit off of the incarceration and labor of prisoners? Do we really need more than 50% of our discretionary spending to go to the military-industrial complex? Yes, we need an effective and well-equipped military. However, it is immoral for companies to depend on continuous wars to make it's profits, and immoral for us to support that with our taxes. Is it really necessary for Big Oil and Big Ag to make billions a year in tax subsidies? Exxon-Mobile is the most profitable corporation on the planet -- they absolutely do NOT need to be subsidized by the taxpayers. Then there is healthcare, which could be so much more effectively managed at lower costs...

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  • Penny
    04/28/2017
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    If you worked for me, I'd fire you all...oh wait, I think you do. How's about earning your paycheck and I don't mean by sitting on the phone half of every workday fundraising.

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  • Rick
    04/28/2017
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    Use the omnibus bill to reprioritize spending and adjust this budget to combat Trumps overspending!

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  • Muggins52
    04/28/2017
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    Well, at least they did SOMETHING right: The legislation also extends the December CR provision for health care benefits for retired coal miners and their dependents for the length of this CR. This provision protects coal miners and their families from losing health care benefits.

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  • operaman
    04/28/2017
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    As mentioned before, just another kicking the can a week down the road towards that canyon called NATIONAL DEBT.

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  • Gerald
    04/28/2017
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    Some Congressmen need replaced. They are the ones who play the system to include unpopular and unwise budget language to fund their special interest. We need to organize and run reasonable candidates to replace them.

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  • Mary
    04/28/2017
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    You guys are playing Russian roulette yet again. When are you going to start being fiscally responsible. When are you going to make the top 2% who earned their money off the backs of the American people pay more in taxes. No you will cut funding on children, the elderly and imprison our youth with crippling educational debt. Come on you guys do the right thing. He who has much owes much.

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  • BushywalruS
    04/29/2017
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    Congress is broken! Vote against all incumbents!

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