As members of the budget conference continue to struggle to reach an agreement on Fiscal Year 2014 spending levels, Congressional Quarterly reports that lawmakers are considering passing a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid another government shutdown.
CQ reported that a continuing resolution would hamstring agencies’ programmatic flexibility and hurt long-term planning. “It would mean continued chaos,” Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, said.
The biggest obstacle in crafting a CR may be whether to offset or delay the sequester, which otherwise will lower the caps on discretionary spending on Jan. 15. While most Republicans want to lock in the $967 billion spending level set by the sequester caps, many Democrats and defense hawks are exchanging proposals on how to offset or redirect the cuts.
Bixby notes that this battle favors those who want to keep the caps as they are: “The caps are current law, so that certainly gives an advantage to those arguing to keep those caps in place.”
One possible solution that has attracted the support of some Senate Democrats would be to amend the Budget Control Act to give agencies more flexibility in forming their budgets at sequester spending levels.