The House and Senate have approved a measure to keep the government funded through 11 December 2014. President Obama signed the bill into law last week. The plan was the last piece of legislative business Congress addressed before leaving town to campaign for the upcoming mid-term elections this November.
The continuing resolution will fund nearly all government programs at approximately their current level. One notable exception is increased flexibility in funding for weather satellite programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The bill includes an across the board cut of 0.0554 percent to all discretionary spending programs, which includes science, education, environment, defense, and a multitude of other programs. The reduction was required to keep spending in line with the budget cap for fiscal year 2014.
A request by the White House to arm rebel groups fighting terrorists in the Middle East became a last minute hurdle for the legislation. In both chambers of Congress, some Democrats and Republicans opposed the measure over concerns about anti-terrorism funding.
The new fiscal year begins on 1 October 2014. Due to ongoing fights about government spending, legislators have been unable to enact the 12 appropriations bills that collectively fund the federal government.
Congress is expected to return for a post-election, lame duck session starting in mid-November.
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