Congress Passes CR for Remainder of FY2013

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March 22, 2013 · by mlivolsi · Spark Notes

Prepared by: Wes Huffman (

Today, the House passed the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government by a margin of 318-109. clearing the bill for the President’s signature. The Department of Education, like most agencies, will be funded at FY2013 levels then cut as required under sequestration.

In terms of Perkins Loans, the lack of cancellation funding will continue. As long as Congress and the Administration continue to pass continuing resolutions and other stop-gap measures, it is very difficult to increase program funding since the legislation merely continues what was done the previous year. However, the relatively smooth process to pass this legislation presents a glimmer of hope for the regular appropriations process to resume this year.

The continuing resolution cleared the Senate yesterday by a vote of 73-26. The final bill includes an amendment from Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) which directs the Department of Defense to reinstate enrollment in the Tuition Assistance Programs for active duty soldiers. Funding for these programs will come from other parts of the Defense budget.

The final bill also includes provisions which allow Javits Fellowship recipients in the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program to receive their final year of funding. The two programs had been consolidated and roughly 100 fellowship recipients were caught in the middle. The FY2013 CR will allow them to complete these fellowships.

The passage of the spending bill for the remainder of the federal fiscal year, which ends on September 30, averts the possibility of a government shutdown in the near term. However, a rigorous spending debate over FY2014 and beyond will continue to be a major theme throughout the rest of this year.

In addition to passing the CR, the House passed the Congressional Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 25, aka the “Ryan Budget”) before departing for a recess around the Easter holiday. The Resolution, authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) passed on a largely party line vote of 221-207. All House Democrats voted against the measure because it cut too much and 10 Republicans voted against it because it did not cut enough. Four Members of Congress, one Republican and three Democrats, did not vote.

The Senate has begun debate on its version of the Budget Resolution (aka the “Murray Budget.”) Debate is expected to continue throughout the week on the measure introduced by Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), with votes on a litany of amendments to the resolution (the “vote-a-rama”) to begin tomorrow or over the weekend. The Senate Resolution is also expected to pass on a largely party line vote with all or almost all Republicans opposed.