Don't look now - another budget extension needed

capiol_dark.gi.top.jpgLawmakers are facing another tight deadline to fund the federal government. By Charles Riley, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- For the third time in a month, Congress is racing to the wire to approve a temporary spending bill to keep the government open for business.

The current measure funding the government -- a so-called continuing resolution -- is set to expire Tuesday at midnight.

The latest extension, passed Friday, was intended to give the Senate time to work on a longer-term solution.

The framework for such a deal appears to be in place. On Sunday, the Senate's top Republican said he was working across the aisle on a deal that would fund the government through March.

With Republicans taking control of the House in January and pledging spending cutbacks, a March deadline would set up a full-fledged fight over the budget.

But first lawmakers need to keep the lights on.

While a continuing resolution puts government spending on autopilot, the version under consideration does include some adjustments to spending levels, including the two-year freeze in pay for federal workers that President Obama called for in November.

Before the bill becomes law, it must be passed by the Senate, which is currently debating an arms treaty, and the House, which doesn't return until Tuesday.

That leaves a narrow window for action.

The failure to pass a new spending measure leaves the government without the authority to spend money for anything but essential operations.

Congress has come down to the wire many times before and has usually managed to pass a funding bill without causing a government shutdown.

Typically, lawmakers pass 12 appropriation bills for the president's approval. Those bills give federal agencies the legal authority to spend and conduct business.

This year, not one of the 12 has been approved by the Senate.

Instead, lawmakers have relied on continuing resolutions. But when the new Republican-controlled House starts meeting in January, the GOP caucus is unlikely to be content with extending funding at current levels.

"Beginning ... January 5th, the American people are going to watch their Congress do something differently, at least in one house," Rep. John Boehner, the incoming Republican speaker, said Friday. "The House is going to become the outpost in Washington for the American people and their desire for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government."

Before the 2010 midterm elections, House Republicans said that if they were in charge they would cut spending by at least $100 billion from the budget in the first year.

Asked on Friday which programs are likely to be cut, Boehner didn't specify.

"But I will tell you," he said. "We are going to cut spending."  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,959.44 154.64 0.87%
Nasdaq 4,781.42 16.04 0.34%
S&P 500 2,078.54 7.89 0.38%
Treasuries 2.16 -0.01 -0.64%
Data as of 8:07pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Gilead Sciences Inc 92.90 -15.55 -14.34%
Bank of America Corp... 17.71 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 112.94 1.16 1.04%
General Electric Co 25.71 0.09 0.35%
Facebook Inc 81.45 1.57 1.97%
Data as of 4:00pm ET

Sections

Private equity titan CEO David Rubenstein drops some rhymes in a holiday message to investors. More

Sure you could spend more this holiday, but your better bet is to put the money you save in your 401(k). More

So, North Korea's Internet went down. What is it like anyway? There are PlayStations, XBoxes and a MacBook. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

Retired union workers could see their pensions cut under a controversial new law, but many say they're not sure how they'll make ends meet if big cuts go through. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.