The Continuing Irresolution

By September 23, 2008Economy, Energy

From CQ Politics, previewing the continuing resolution, made necessary because Congress has failed to pass any appropriations bill this year. Zero for 12. So throw everything into a single bill, lard it up, and here we go…

Democrats are working on a sweeping plan to package a five-month stopgap spending bill that would keep the government from shutting down with a broad array of other provisions, including loans for the auto industry and new offshore-drilling rules.

The legislation also might include full-year fiscal 2009 funding for the Pentagon, homeland security and veterans totaling more than $600 billion.

The legislation is ostensibly intended to provide a baseline level of funding through March 6 to keep the government operating until the next president can work with Congress to finish its overdue fiscal 2009 appropriations work.

However, members are in a hurry to adjourn for the year and plunge full-time into campaign mode, so the stopgap spending bill appears likely to become a vehicle for a wide variety of legislation lawmakers hope to enact by the end of this week. The session-ending plan is under top-level congressional negotiations and subject to substantial revisions.

The way these things usually work, there will be good and necessary provisions beyond the basic appropriations language in the bill, along with junk, lots of junk. From WSJ:

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are working on a proposal to enact provisions of a House bill that opens up new areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling as part a stopgap government funding measure, now that passage of a standalone energy bill by the Senate appears unlikely.

Democratic leaders and their aides say the debate over the Bush administration’s proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout package is eclipsing legislation, such as the energy bill, that once had top priority on the Senate’s calendar.


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