Congress returns from its summer recess Monday, and welcoming members back from their home districts is a busy legislative agenda.
Top of the list is coming up with a spending deal before the fiscal year runs out at the end of September. The House of Representatives and Senate only have about a dozen working days to hammer out 12 separate spending bills. The House has already passed versions of most of them, but the Senate has not passed any.
With the tight deadline, “Congress is going to approach the budget in two different bites,” said Tamara Fucile, director for government affairs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “[Congress will] do a short-term bill that keeps the government open at the start of the fiscal year, and then they’ll look to write full-year bills into the fall.”
That short-term bill is called a continuing resolution and is pretty normal.
“Over the past 21 years, there have been 117 of them,” said Jeff Holland, vice president of research at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “So it’s been more than 20 years since all appropriations were passed on time.”
Both House and Senate leadership have already indicated they are leaning toward a “CR,” which helps avoid the risk of a government shutdown come Oct. 1.