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Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Avoid Government Shutdown

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With a House vote of 342-85 , Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund federal agencies until December 9, avoiding a government shutdown. The Senate had earlier voted 72-26 in favor of a 10 week CR. The CR (HR 5325), is a “clean” funding bill that funds the government at the FY 2017 top-line level of $1.067 trillion minus a 0.5 percent across-the-board that is necessary to comply with the spending cap. It includes a total of $1.1 billion in Zika funding, more than $150 million of which will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research to develop a vaccine and diagnostic tests. The CR also contains $37 million to support treatment for opioid addiction and recovery and funds to repair damage from recent floods in Louisiana, West Virginia, and Maryland. Other provisions in the CR address requests submitted by the Obama Administration including money to begin preparations for the Presidential inauguration and additional resources that will allow the Transportation Security Administration to continue a staffing surge to reduce lines at airports across the country. In addition, the CR includes the final FY 2017 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The Medical and Prosthetic Research Program was funded at $675.36 million, $44.6 million (7%) above the FY 2016 level. The bill now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.

Although the Senate and House are still in session, both chambers are expected to wrap-up legislative business this week and will be in recess until after Election Day. The schedule for the "lame duck" session has not been announced yet but the House is tentatively planning to return the week of November 14.

While this is certainly the best possible outcome given the current circumstances and time-constraints, many argue that Congress has only delayed the work of passing a comprehensive budget deal for fiscal 2017. ASPET will now shift advocacy efforts towards the passage of an omnibus bill.

Last updated: September 29, 2016 

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