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Congress Passes Another Short-Term Continuing Resolution to Fund Federal Agencies As it Continues Working to Finalize FY2011 Funding

Legislative Update
December 3, 2010

Late on December 2, the Senate cleared a bill to fund federal agencies and programs at current levels until Dec. 18. The House passed the measure (H.J Res 101) 239 178 Wednesday. The federal government has been operating on a short-term CR (H.R. 3081) that was set to expire this week unless Congress acted to extend it, which H.J. Res 101 does.

The CR is necessary because Congress failed to approve any of the 12 regular appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, which began October 1. The CR funds most programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI), at FY2010 levels.

The two-week extension of the CR gives Congress a short window to finalize FY2011 funding for the full year, and there are a number of options open to lawmakers-another short-term CR that would fund the government into the new year and let the new Congress finalize FY2011 funding; a full-year CR that would continue to fund the government at FY2010 levels; or Congress could pass an Omnibus bill that rolls all the regular FY2011 appropriations bills into one massive spending bill.

Both the House and Senate have proposed FY2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bills that provide for a $1 billion, or 3.2 percent, inflationary funding increase for the NIH to $32 billion. This was also the funding level proposed by President Obama.