WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2015 - The fiscal year ends at midnight today, but lawmakers are on track to avert a government shutdown. The Senate is set this morning to approve a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running through Dec. 11, and the House is expected to approve the measure later today. The Senate voted 77-19 on Monday to advance the CR.
The CR buys some time for Republican congressional leaders to reach a deal with the White House on a government-wide spending bill for fiscal 2016. The White House wants more spending for domestic programs, while Republicans want more money for defense as well as some policy riders addressing key parts of President Obama’s regulatory agenda, including the rule re-defining the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the goal is to agree on new spending levels for both fiscal 2016 and 2017. “We would like to settle the top line for both years so that next year we could have a regular appropriations process,” he told reporters Tuesday. Democrats have refused to allow fiscal 2016 appropriations bills to move through the Senate until Republicans agreed to raise the spending limits.
House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, has indicated he wants to clear the decks of some controversial issues before he leaves office at the end of October. “I don't want to leave my successor a dirty barn. So I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there,” the Ohio Republican said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
He didn’t say what those issues are, but the debt ceiling also has to be addressed, and lawmakers also have to pass an extension of highway funding. The Export-Import Bank also is in limbo, its authority having expired at the end of June.
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