The Senate on Thursday easily passed a short-term spending bill, clearing the way for the government to avoid a shutdown until at least mid-December.
The Senate’s passage by a vote of 73-22 follows the House approving on Wednesday the $1.01 trillion stopgap measure — which funds agencies at their current spending levels through Dec. 11. The stopgap measure will now head to President Obama, who has indicated he will sign it.
“The administration appreciates that the House bill allows critical government functions to operate without interruption and avoids a damaging government shutdown,” the White House wrote in a statement of administration policy.
Federal employee advocates also expressed support for the continuing resolution, but said the short-term nature of the bill makes it difficult for agencies to carry out their missions.
“As we have seen over the past several years, a series of short-term, patchwork funding solutions are becoming the norm rather than the exception,” said the Federal-Postal Coalition, an amalgamation of more than 30 federal workforce groups. “Continuing resolutions tie the hands of managers and employees alike by limiting strategic planning and restricting resources to get the job done.”
In some respects, however, the CR was good news for federal workers. The stopgap bill is mum on President Obama’s request to grant federal employees a 1 percent, across-the-board pay raise in 2015, effectively allowing the pay bump to go through. Congress, which is set to recess this week until after the upcoming November election, will aim to pass an omnibus appropriations bill when it returns. Lawmakers could theoretically block the pay raise at that time, though they have yet to show any interest in doing so.
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