The House passed a $984 billion continuing resolution today to keep the government funded through the end of the current fiscal year which is September 30. The bill passed 318 to 109. This is the same pork laden bill the Senate had approved a day earlier. The bill now goes to Obama for his signature.
But the changes do allow the Defense Department to rebalance some spending, for example adding about $10 billion to its operations and maintenance budget, and possibly reduce the number of planned furlough days for about 800,000 civilian defense employees.
The Pentagon notified employees within hours of the bill’s passage Thursday that furlough notices scheduled to go out Friday will be delayed until April 5. That will give officials time to determine whether the new budget will still require 22 unpaid days or fewer.
Other agencies planning furloughs include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Office of Management and Budget, Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The resolution will block the impact of the sequester by adding money to certain programs just before the across-the-board reduction hits. All additional money, however, was offset with cuts elsewhere, reflecting the sequester’s cut. The government will be able spend $982 billion for the year.
Certain programs received special consideration from Congress. Lawmakers agreed to transfer $55 million in agriculture funds to forestall furloughs among food inspectors. They also allocated funds to ensure that the military can still offer tuition assistance to service members.
Congress also closed the door on the possibility of a pay raise for federal workers this year, denying a 0.5 percent increase that Obama proposed and that otherwise would have taken effect in April. The extension of the pay freeze also applies to members of Congress and high-level political appointees.
WaPo makes no mention of the pork in the bill.