Stopgap Spending Measure Moves Forward in U.S. Senate

A stopgap budget measure funding the U.S. government after the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year may clear Congress as soon as tomorrow after it advanced in a Senate procedural vote.

The Senate voted 76-22 today to move forward with the measure, which would fund most government programs for the first six months of the 2013 fiscal year. The legislation was adopted Sept. 13 by the House, 329-91, after Republicans dropped their demands for spending cuts in the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee.

The measure would fund agencies at an annualized rate of $1.047 trillion, excluding emergency spending, which would translate to a 0.6 percent funding increase for most federal programs until March 27, 2013. Some initiatives, including cyber security, wildfire-suppression efforts, veterans’ disability- benefit processing and next year’s presidential inauguration, would receive more.

The legislation also would extend the pay freeze for federal workers, including members of Congress.

Senate leaders have said they plan to clear the measure for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The legislation, H.J.Res. 117, would end one budget fight while lawmakers delay debate until after the Nov. 6 election on the more contentious issues of the expiring George W. Bush-era income tax cuts and $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts for the next decade, set to begin in January.

The stopgap measure provides $19 billion more for the discretionary portion of the federal budget than Ryan proposed in his fiscal plan adopted by the House in March.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Faler in Washington at bfaler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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