Government Shutdown
There is a need to pass a bill extending routine government funding after a stopgap bill expires March 27. Without an extension, a partial government shutdown would occur. Congress must pass this spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October, 2013. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury “would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15. The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion. The debt limit has been raised 13 times since 2001 and has grown from about 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2001 to 102 percent of GDP last year.

Senate Passes Government Funding Bill Prior to Midnight Deadline

from The Wall Street Journal,

The bill is expected to receive the House’s approval and Obama’s signature later Wednesday.

The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through Dec. 11, putting Congress on track to avoid another government shutdown with little time to spare. The House is expected to approve the spending bill later Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the legislation before the government’s current funding expires at midnight. The Senate passed the spending bill in a 78-20 vote.

Although Congress acted in its typical, last-minute fashion, the stopgap spending bill’s passage was anticlimactic on Capitol Hill.

Conservatives who had worked to oust Mr. Boehner for years had pushed GOP leaders to use the spending bill as leverage in a fight over Planned Parenthood funding, urging them to let the government shutter if necessary. Republican anger toward the women’s health organization has ballooned in the wake of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for procuring fetal tissue for medical researchers. Planned Parenthood officials have said the videos were edited by antiabortion advocates to undermine the group’s work.

The spending bill expected to pass both chambers Wednesday retains federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill’s mid-December deadline is expected to set up the next major fight in Washington. Conservatives emboldened by their role in pushing out Mr. Boehner are likely to resist any longer-term budget deal that increases federal spending. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Tuesday he hoped to strike a deal with Democrats setting budget levels through fiscal year 2017.

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