The latest in a series of short-term federal funding bills, called continuing resolutions, easily passed the Senate vote today. The bill was approved by the House on Tuesday and now needs President Obama's signature to become law. This three week spending measure will expire on 8 April 2011.
What does this mean? It means that the federal government will continue to run until at least 8 April. During this time, lawmakers will strive to come to some sort of agreement on the 2011 federal budget. The government has been working without approved budget since the fiscal year began on 1 October 2010. Many lawmakers have stated that this is the last continuing resolution that they will approve, meaning that there are two choices: a budget gets passed, or the government will shutdown.
This is of particular interest to Department of Defense folks because the Defense Appropriations bill has not been passed by the senate and is not law. The Department of Defense is also working without approved appropriations and has been living with the same short-term spending issues as the federal government as a whole. Not having approved appropriations is causing difficulties for the Department of Defense. It is the reason for uncertainty about military pay if there is a government shutdown.
I encourage my readers to continue to educate themselves about the legislative and appropriations process, and of course, prepare for the worse, and hope for the best.