Appropriators release 6-month spending bill

House appropriators have released the text of a bill to keep the government operating after the end of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.

The bill increases the rate of spending to conform with the August 2011 debt ceiling deal, which set the 2013 rate at $1.047 trillion.

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That is $19 billion more than House Republicans wanted next year and at least some conservatives can be expected to vote against the continuing resolution.

The bill, the product of a House-Senate negotiation with input from the White House, contains no policy riders and House Democrats can be expected to support the bill along with House GOP leaders.

The size of the conservative defection may not be large.

In April 2011, House Republicans used the threat of a government shutdown to gain a cut in budget authority for the year of $38.5 billion. The confrontation hurt the popularity of the caucus, and GOP leaders have warned that a shutdown battle a month before the November election could be damaging. Conservatives this week said the price of the higher spending in the CR is getting the chance to cut 2013 spending next year when Republicans may control the White House and Senate.

The outline for the bill was agreed upon by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this summer, and Senate passage as early as this week seems assured. The House is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday.

Conservatives will be pleased that a pay freeze for federal workers has been extended through the life of the bill, until March 27. The Obama administration had sought a 0.5 percent increase for workers.

In its detail, the bill includes a nearly across-the-board spending increase of 0.6 percent, more than $6 billion. The overseas wars are funded at the Pentagon requested level of $88.5 billion.

The bill contains a number of exceptions. These include emergency funding to fight wildfires, to modernize nuclear weapons and to increase border patrols.

The bill also contains a special provision to allow the STOCK Act, meant to stop insider trading my members of Congress, to be implemented.

And it authorizes a payment of $174,000 to the heirs of deceased congressman Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.).

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he is deeply disappointed that the committee’s work on 12 separate bills will be wasted. The full House had passed seven of the 12.
“Unfortunately, with the Senate’s inaction and election-year politics in play, our committee’s bills will not be negotiated before the end of the fiscal year, and therefore a temporary funding Band-Aid is necessary to prevent a government shutdown,” he said.

Ranking member Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) urged his fellow Democrats to support the continuing resolution.

“This stop-gap measure will keep the government operating at a rate consistent with what we agreed to in last year’s bipartisan Budget Control Act. As I’ve said all along, it was inevitable that we would return here and I regret that we spent the greater portion of this year considering appropriations bills that didn’t comply with that hard fought agreement,” he said.

This story was last updated Sept. 11 at 8:40 a.m.

An earlier version of this story misstated the CR’s handling of the 1996 welfare reform law, which is set to expire this month. The bill will extend the welfare law by 6 months. Sources also expect a separate welfare bill next week that will include a provision blocking the Obama administration from waiving work requirements in welfare.