Wow - I take a few days off and all sorts of craziness happens. If you've been keeping up with the comments on the 1 October 2011 pay post, you will have noticed that there were many concerns about the start of the new fiscal year, the military's 1 October pay, and some issues with some people's Leave and Earnings Statements.
Some background, for those of you who might have been confused. The federal government's fiscal year runs 1 October to 30 September. Each year, Congress must authorize, then appropriate money to fund the Department of Defense. Pretty regularly, this does not happen before the 1 October start of the fiscal year. Because the government can not run without authorization or appropriation of funds, Congress passes a continuing resolution to allow the government to continue to function until authorizations and appropriations are voted into law. There can be a series of continuing resolutions each year.
For the 2011 fiscal year, the US federal government went the entire fiscal year functioning on a series of continuing resolutions. This resulted in several times of uncertainty about possible government shutdowns, and possible delays of military pay. We are getting ready to begin the 2012 fiscal year, and the same things are happening again.
Congress does not seem to be prepared to pass a budget before the fiscal year begins, and so we are again looking for a continuing resolution to fund the government. There were concerns over the weekend that a resolution would not be passed before the fiscal year began, but it appears that Congress is on track to approve a one week spending bill that is supposed to give them until Tuesday to approve a six-week resolution. Confused yet? What they are planning:
- today, a one week bill (from Tuesday, so it runs until next Tuesday) that buys them enough time to approve a
- longer, temporary bill that runs until 18 November, so that they can try to work out the details of
- a fiscal year 2012 actual budget.