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POLITICS: PennAve

Deja vu as spending bills take a back seat to partisan politics

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Politics,Congress,John Boehner,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown,Spending

Congress appears resolved to punt on one of its fundamental duties -- passing spending bills.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said as much Thursday when he told reporters he expects Congress to pass a stopgap “continuing resolution” in September that would keep the government funded until late this year.

“I expect we're going to do a CR next month, and I would imagine it would go into early December,” Boehner said.

An aide later clarified the speaker’s comment, saying he meant to say September when he said "next month."

After a long partisan fight that forced a partial government shutdown last October, the two chambers in December agreed to a $2 trillion budget deal to fund federal agencies until October 2015.

To determine exactly how to spend the money, Congress still was supposed to draft and pass its 12 annual appropriation bills. But calcified by partisan gridlock, lawmakers are expected to once again kick their appropriating responsibilities down the road by passing a temporary funding measure in time for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1.

The last time Congress passed all 12 appropriations bills was for fiscal 2006, and even then several stopgap bills had to be used to extend the deadline.

Only twice since 2000 have both chambers passed all 12 appropriations bills in time for the start of the fiscal year. Over the past three years, Congress didn't pass any of its individual spending bills.

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