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Senate Passes Six-Month CR to Fund the Government in FY2013, Clearing Measure for White House Approval

Legislative Update
September 24, 2012

Early Saturday morning September 22, the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (House Joint Resolution 117) that would fund most government operations at the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 funding level until March 27, 2013. The vote was 63-20, and the measure is now cleared for the Presidentís signature. The House of Representatives passed the resolution September 13 by a vote of 329-91.

The CR avoids the threat of a government shutdown when FY2013 begins on October 1, since final appropriations bills were not passed.

Since the CR reflects the $1.047 trillion spending level previously agreed upon in the Budget Control Act [P.L. 112-25], which is $8 billion greater than the FY2012 level, it imposes a government-wide, across-the-board increase of 0.6 percent during its term. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will provide specific guidance to agencies upon enactment of the CR as to spending. Assuming an FY2012 funding level during the six-month CR, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be funded at $30.64 billion and the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $702.7 million. This assumes that the NIHís Office of AIDS Research will not transfer $8.2 million from the NEI due to the dissolution of the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis clinical trials, as proposed in the Presidentís FY2013 budget and the Senateís FY2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill.

The CR, however, does not alter the sequester—the automatic budget cuts to both defense and nondefense discretionary spending set to take effect on January 2, 2013. Without Congressional action before the end of 2012, nondefense discretionary programs, including NIH and NEI funding, will be cut by at least 8.2 percent, or $2.518 billion and $57.6 million, respectively, per a September 14 report issued by the OMB, which was mandated by the Sequester Transparency Act.