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Goverment Shutdown? To Be Continued…

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By Tony Perkins

The House voted Wednesday afternoon 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution (“CR”) with 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voting against the bill. The CR will avert a government shutdown October 1st by funding federal agencies at the current fiscal year 2014 spending levels till December 11th.

Last week, we wrote about the CR and that conservatives were fighting to keep the stop gap funding measure as “clean” as possible, meaning free of any extraneous provisions not directly tied to funding the government to expedite its passage. But that was before the President requested from Congress new authorities to train and equip Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia to fight ISIS, setting up a whole new debate over the President’s proposal and whether to include it on the CR.

A considerable number of members objected to combining the two measures and called for additional debate, leading the House to separate the measures. Before voting on final passage of the CR, the House passed an amendment 273-156 to adopt the President’s proposal to arm the Syrian rebels.

Even with the President’s proposal being considered separately, efforts to keep the measure clean did not prevent a number of anomalies from making their way onto the CR, including a temporary reauthorization of the Export Import Bank and an extra $88 million to address the Ebola virus in Africa.

Looking forward, the Senate needs to pass the CR with the Syrian amendment. Appropriators are signaling final passage will likely tee up a vote in December on a much broader spending bill containing all the appropriations bills — a package known as an “omnibus.”

Conservatives rightly pushed for a longer CR out of fear that an omnibus package during the Lame Duck will be a tempting target for policy changes that they’ll oppose. A similar situation was taken advantage of in 2010 to repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” But for many, the desire to return to their districts to campaign before midterms proved too great.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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