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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living With Continuing Resolutions

Continuing resolutions (CRs) are here to stay. Although administrators fear CRs might wreak havoc with agency programs and budget plans, administrators can prepare for CRs to minimize disruption and normalize operations.

The U.S. Constitution requires Congress to pass appropriations bills before federal agencies can spend government monies. The congressional budget process aims to pass these bills before the start of each fiscal year. However,

Congress has not always been able to pass regular appropriations bills on time, and thus developed a temporary appropriation, called a continuing resolution (CR), to fund agencies until their regular appropriations bills are passed.

Congress attempted to address its inability to pass annual appropriations bills on time by changing the start of the federal fiscal year, from July 1 to October 1, in the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

The plan worked—for one year. Congress has passed all appropriations bills before October 1 only three times in the 34 years from 1978 to 2011.
-Thad Juszak, ThePublicManager.org

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