Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., is sponsoring a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels until Dec. 15. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
House leaders have postponed action on a continuing resolution to fund the government at current budget levels until Dec. 15 while giving extra money and spending flexibility to a select group of agencies.
The bill, needed to avert a partial government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, was introduced Tuesday.
After initially planning a Thursday vote, House leaders on Wednesday postponed it until next week, according to an aide speaking on condition of anonymity. Although the aide gave no reason for the delay, the measure has quickly run into opposition from some sectors of the right angry that it would not bar funding for implementation of the health care overhaul widely dubbed “Obamacare.”
The Club for Growth, for example, urged all House members to oppose the bill; in a message on its website, the conservative group also warned that it would include the CR vote on its scorecard for the 113th Congress.
Less than three weeks before the onset of fiscal 2014, lawmakers have not given final approval to any of the dozen annual appropriations bills needed to keep agencies in operation. Nor have they taken steps to head off another sequester next year.
The measure’s sponsor, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said in a statement accompanying its introduction Tuesday, that the nation “desperately needs a long-term budget solution that ends the draconian cuts put into place” by the sequester.
“It is my hope that this stop-gap legislation will provide time for all sides to come together to reach this essential goal,” he said.
Under the measure, most agencies would be kept at roughly current sequester-level funding. It makes some exceptions to avoid what the appropriations committee called “catastrophic” or irreversible effects on federal programs or to ensure oversight, including:
■Funding flexibility for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to sustain current workforce and operations levels.
■More money for the Interior Department and the Forest Service for wildfire suppression efforts.
■More money for Veterans Affairs Department disability claims processing.
■Funding for pandemic flu preparedness and chemical or biological attack response efforts.
■Funding flexibility to maintain National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite programs.