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Policy: Budgets & Deficits

John Boehner signals support for short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner signaled Thursday that a small stopgap bill will likely be used to prevent the government from shutting down this fall.

Congress is leaving for it’s August recess at the end of the week and won’t return until Sept. 9. That means lawmakers will have few legislative days until the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The limited time will not be enough for them to agree on a spending bill for fiscal 2014, Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Instead, he said Congress will likely have to pass a short-term bill, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, until it can work out a long-term spending plan.

The CR would keep the government funded at current budget levels.

Using such a measure, “for a short period of time, would probably be in the nation’s interest,” Boehner said in a statement that underscored his aversion to government shutdown talk.

Boehner added that he does not want to use a CR to run the government for the remainder of fiscal 2014, saying such a move “is not a good way to do business.” Boehner said he is looking for a way to pass a dozen appropriations bills through the House.

Both the House and Senate have struggled to pass spending measures, however, and it is unlikely Congress can avoid having to pass a lump-sum spending bill known as an omnibus. Even passing one large budget bill will be a mighty struggle because Republicans want a much lower funding levels than Democrats.

The two chambers this week rejected separate legislation to fund transportation, housing and urban development.

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