Congress passes temporary funding stopgap

| 10/30/2009

The U.S. House and Senate passed legislation to keep the federal government operating at current levels until long-term funding bills are completed.

This action, called a continuing resolution, which passed on Thursday, Oct. 29, provides $32.3 billion to extend government programs at current funding levels through Dec. 18.

For transportation, the action extends the current levels outlined in the 2005 legislation known as SAFETEA-LU until Congress can work out the funding mechanisms for the next big authorization bill.

SAFETEA-LU, the Bush-era transportation plan, technically expired on Sept. 30, but Congress extended the provisions through Oct. 30. But with that date also coming and going without long-term authorizations in place, Congress was again forced to take stopgap measures to keep the government funded.

Some members of Congress are holding on to the belief that a long-term, $450 billion transportation bill can be completed by the end of this year, while others say it isn’t likely to happen until well into the new year.

The latest continuing resolution, passed both the House and Senate by large margins, is HR2996 for anyone keeping score at home.

– By David Tanner, staff writer