The federal government again is taking steps to pay its bills with a continuing resolution instead of a budget.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a $982 billion stopgap measure to fund programs through the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
The Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 933) passed by a vote of 267-151 with both local congressmen, Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, and Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, supporting it.
The bill is designed to prevent the government from ceasing to operate when the current continuing resolution ends on March 27.
No complete federal budget resolution has been adopted since the 2010 fiscal year.
“I voted today in support of the continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through September 30,” said Rothfus, a representative from Pennsylvania’s 12th district. “While imperfect, the resolution is an important step in the right direction.”
The Senate now will take up the issue.
“Passing this legislation today gives the Senate ample time to act on this proposal and avert another fiscal crisis,” said Shuster from the 9th district.
Rothfus added, “I urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass this legislation.”
The bill was approved days after across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, went into effect.
If adopted, the legislation would allow the military to adjust the $42.7 billion from sequestration cuts it is scheduled to receive during the remainder of this fiscal year.
“The secretaries of the Defense Department and Veteran Affairs Department told us the best thing we could do in light of sequestration was give them the ability to manage their funds; this bill does that,” Shuster said. “This will give them the flexibility to spend money and move money the best way possible in areas that make sense.”
Shuster and Rothfus supported the measure after, in January, voting for the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013. That called for members of either chamber to go without salaries if their body does not agree to a 2014 fiscal year budget resolution by April 15. The No Budget No Pay Act allowed the federal government to extend its debt ceiling through May 18.
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