Congress Focuses on Approps As New Fiscal Year Looms

September 25, 2009 Bookmark and Share

House and Senate activity this week was largely focused on pending appropriations bills, with the federal government’s fiscal year set to end on Wednesday.

On Friday, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of October as part of the legislative branch spending bill. The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.

The House, where spending bills originate, has passed its version of all 12 bills, but the Senate must still act on its version of six. Bills approved by both chambers and likely to go to conference committee in the coming days include the energy and water bill and the agriculture bill.

Continuing resolutions, or CRs, have become a mainstay of the appropriations process in recent years. According to CNN, at least one CR has been used in all but four of the past 33 years.

Some appropriations-related items of note included:

  • The House this week approved a three-month extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which still must be considered by the Senate. The fate of surface transportation reauthorization legislation remains unclear; current surface transportation law expires with the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
  • NAWG and other agricultural groups wrote members of the agriculture appropriations subcommittee leadership in both chambers last week, urging them to maintain the $295 million in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in the Senate agriculture appropriations bill. AFRI is a new competitive grants program established under the 2008 Farm Bill. The full letters are at