Federal Relations

December 10, 2016

CR Passes, Happy Holidays!

In a late Friday night vote, the Senate passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through April 28, 2017 by a vote of 62-34. The House passed the measure earlier in the week, and with the Senate’s passage, a government shutdown has been averted.

There was much uncertainty thrown into the CR at the last minute with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) trying to halt the measure due to the lack of a full year’s extension of retired coal miners’ health benefits. Manchin was threatening to filibuster or convince 40 Senate Democrats to vote against cloture on the measure. That effort failed and the Senate passed cloture on Thursday. That vote added a new wrinkle in that cloture guarantees 30 hours of debate on legislation, and if the Senate Democrats were to exhaust the full 30 hours, then the Senate vote would not occur until 1 am on Saturday, December 10th, a full hour after the CR had expired.

Rather than risk that scenario, the Senate  ended debate earlier, proceeded with, and passed the measure at 11 pm on Friday. It should be noted that the House recessed Thursday, and most House Members were back in the district, with little intention of returning, on Friday.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the CR. 

The stopgap measure, which took immediate effect, extends current funding levels for most federal agencies and abides by an annual cap on discretionary spending of $1.07 trillion for FY2017. It also provides extra money for military operations, flood relief, medical research and the effort to repair the lead-contaminated water system of Flint, MI.

With that, the House and Senate are expected to recess Sine Die in the coming week. They will convene in the 115th Congress.