Federal Relations

October 29, 2012

CR and Sequester Update

Members of Congress are discussing the possibility of approving a continuing resolution (CR) for the entire fiscal year to avoid partisan political battles and a possible government shutdown. Appropriators continue to press for completing this year’s spending bills in a lame-duck omnibus, but it’s more likely that they will be left for the next Congress. However, leaders in the 113th Congress are likely to be immersed in fights over the debt limit and tax policy next spring and may well opt for another six-month CR that would cover the rest of the fiscal year. The current CR (PL 112-175) expires on March 27, 2013.

On the sequester front, President Obama is speaking with confidence about a “grand bargain” on raising taxes and reducing the deficit that could be reached within six months if he’s re-elected. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is reiterating his plan to increase defense spending and repeal the 2010 health care overhaul law to help balance the budget. Obama’s allusion to a six-month timeline for a budget agreement suggests that he agrees with many lawmakers and outside observers who say that a large deal will be impossible in a lame-duck session of Congress. Some lawmakers and analysts have said Congress should agree to a small package of budget cuts and establish the framework of a bigger package in the lame duck.

There are just eight days until the election, the result of which will certainly shape the agenda for the lame duck session and early months of the next Congress.

Source:  CQ Budget Tracker