Congress is likely to approve a continuing resolution (CR) before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year so that the federal government can receive funding into fiscal 2011. Without a resolution, government agencies would face a shutdown. Congress has yet to clear any of the dozen annual appropriations bills that provide funding for 2011.
Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), the top House GOP appropriator, and other Republicans on the spending panel said in a letter to Democrats that they have "serious and growing concerns" about what a continuing resolution would look like.
"At a time of extreme spending and political fatigue, it is simply unacceptable to use a must-pass CR as a legislative vehicle for more wasteful federal spending or completing an array of unfinished political business before the election," the Republicans appropriators wrote.
The GOP lawmakers added that they wouldn't support any measure that included "unnecessary spending or legislative provisions unrelated to maintaining government operations."
"We respectfully request that you fashion a CR true to the purpose of temporarily continuing the activities of government at the absolute minimum level necessary until we finish our work on the fiscal year 2011 spending bills,” the GOP lawmakers said.
Democratic leaders have yet to lay out how they plan to pass the 2011 spending bills. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Tuesday that a continuing resolution is on the Senate's pre-election agenda.
While lawmakers are holding out hope they can pass some of the bills individually, it's all but certain that Congress will have to package several together into an omnibus measure, just as lawmakers did last year.