House Republicans could engineer not one but two stopgap spending bills to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 and later this fall, Fox News has learned.
Earlier Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced that the House would prepare a Continuing Resolution for the week of Sept. 19 to keep the government open starting October 1. That’s the start of the government’s new fiscal year. The House has approved several of the annual spending bills which fund the federal government. The Senate is lagging behind, and President Obama has signed none into law.
Republicans harshly criticized Democrats last year for failing to approve the annual funding bills on time.
If the money isn’t in place by Oct. 1, the government must close.
Senior sources familiar with the plan indicate that the House would craft an initial “bridge” bill which would keep the government operating through Nov. 18. At that point, the hope is that the House and Senate would have worked out the spending bills for the rest of the new fiscal year. If not, the leadership may have to prepare a second CR to fund the government past Nov. 18.
Continuing Resolutions are interim measures which continue to fund government programs at the same spending level approved for the previous fiscal year or less.
The government is currently operating under a CR which lawmakers approved in April to narrowly sidestep a complete shutdown.
One source said it’s unclear whether emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with Hurricane Irene and wildfires in Texas could land in the first stopgap measure. Congress is waiting for the administration to make a formal request to cover the natural disasters. The source indicated that if Congress can’t insert the money into the first stopgap bill, it may have to prepare an additional spending bill known as a Supplemental to pay for the natural disasters.