House passes continuing resolution with funding for rest of fiscal 2013
The House approved Wednesday a continuing resolution that would fund the government through the rest of fiscal 2013 and would increase Defense Department readiness spending by roughly $10 million.
The chamber voted 267 to 151 for H.R. 933, a bill to fund the government through September after the current continuing resolution expires March 27. Some 53 Democrats joined all but 14 Republicans in voting for the bill.
The bill topline would keep overall discretionary spending at the sequestration amount of $982 billion.
According to The Hill, Senate Democrats are willing to accept the House topline but will seek to shift money for agencies within the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he's "cautiously optimistic that we'll reach a solution before we leave here for the Easter recess."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in Tuesday's press briefing that a "CR should be practical, it should be non-political, and it should be consistent with levels of the Budget Control Act."
In the administration's statement of policy (.pdf) on the bill, the White House expresses concern over the government's ability to protect consumers, implement domestic priorities and fund non-Defense agencies under the bill, but does not threaten a veto.
The impact of sequestration on Defense would be somewhat mitigated by the House bill through an increase to its operations and maintance budget that would amount to $9.59 billion more than the sequestration level of $150.38 billion.
The bill would also provide about $2.5 billion in additional discretionary spending for the Veterans Affairs Department, according to a House Appropriations Committee statement. It notes "all of the funding within the Department of Veterans Affairs is exempt from sequestration."
The bill would keep the pay freeze for federal employees and override an executive order that would increase their pay by 0.5 percent on March 27.
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