Talk of a federal government shutdown can subside until March 4 now that Congress has passed another temporary spending bill funding federal agencies through that date.
The bill increases federal spending $1.16 billion above fiscal 2010 levels but most federal agencies will see little change. Fiscal 2010 ended Sept. 30; federal fiscal years start Oct. 1.
The temporary spending measure had bipartisan support in the Senate, which voted 79 to 16 for it, but less so in the House, which broke mainly along party lines to approve it 193 to 165.
The bill means fiscal 2011 will be dominated by uncertainty for federal agencies, which find it difficult to make big commitments when funding is tentative. Some agencies use cost reimbursement contracts as a means of dealing with the uncertainty, since unlike fixed price contracts, cost contracts allow agencies to incrementally add funding.
The March 4 deadline also means that Congress likely will be dealing with two fiscal years simultaneously–the fiscal 2012 request submitted by the president on the first Monday of every February, and the remainder of fiscal 2011. Republicans have indicated they want to cut spending further and in particular target funding meant for implementing healthcare reform under the Affordable Care Act.
[Note: This “Continuing Resolution” was signed by the President on 12/22/2010. See http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app11.html]
– by David Perera – FierceGovernment.com – Created Dec 21 2010 – 11:02pm