President Bush Signs Stopgap Spending Measure Into Law
President Bush on Saturday signed into law a continuing resolution (HJ Res 52) that will fund at current levels the budgets of Cabinet departments and government agencies until Nov. 16, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports (Loven, AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/29).
Stopgap legislation was required because none of the 12 annual appropriations bills has been signed into law. The House has passed all 12 spending bills, while the Senate has approved four. There have been no conference committees.
The CR also temporarily extends the State Children's Health Insurance Program as Congress and Bush continue to debate reauthorization and expansion of the program and others that expired on Sunday. Both the House and Senate have approved SCHIP compromise legislation. Bush has vowed to veto the measure, along with seven of the 12 appropriations bills, which call for $23 billion more in funding for domestic programs than his $933 billion requested budget. Although stopgap bills have been needed every year since 1994, this is the first time in five years that none of the appropriations bills has become law by the Oct. 1 deadline (California Healthline, 9/28).
According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "growing differences between the spending priorities of Democrats and the White House could drag on well past [Nov. 16], prompting the need for an additional continuing resolution" (Dillon, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 9/30).
During his weekly radio address on Saturday, the president criticized congressional Democrats for sending him the CR, saying, "This legislation was necessary because Congress failed in its most basic responsibility: to pass the spending bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government."
However, he did express thanks that lawmakers did not include new spending or policies in the CR. Democrats, whose weekly radio address was delivered by a 12-year-old SCHIP beneficiary, responded to the president's remarks by accusing him of turning the surplus he inherited into a deficit, adding that spending bills also were not completed on time during the Republican-controlled Congress (Zakaria, Reuters/Washington Post, 9/29).