House Republicans last week altered their plans to approve a temporary government-wide spending bill following President Obama’s request for congressional approval for the U.S. military to train and equip Syrian rebels. Prior to this request, the House had been expected to approve a measure September 11 that would fund programs, including those within the U.S. Department of Transportation, at roughly current levels through December 11. The legislation includes a .05 percent across-the-board cut to comply with required overall spending levels for FY 2014. House Republican leaders have indicated they will vote on the measure—with the President’s requested language—as early as September 16. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) said last week he expects bipartisan approval of the plan.
The short-term spending measure—referred to as a “continuing resolution”—is needed because Congress has not yet approved any of the 12 annual appropriations bills to fund federal programs once FY 2015 begins on October 1. Depending on the outcome of the 2014 elections, Congress is expected to either finalize FY 2015 funding levels in a post-election session or pass another short-term measure into next year.