On September 18, Congress gave final approval to the fiscal year 2015 (FY15) continuing resolution. The measure will sustain funding for federal programs through December 11, 2014 largely at their 2014 levels, or the current annual cap rate of $1.012 trillion, and includes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554% from FY14 levels. This action eliminates the possibility of a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Congress will consider longer-term funding for FY15 when it returns for the lame duck session following the November election.
The continuing resolution was needed because Congress has not approved any of the FY15 appropriations bills. Along with keeping the government funded, the continuing resolution authorizes the U.S. to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), extends authority for the Export-Import bank for nine months, extends the tax-free status of Internet purchases, adds funding for processing veterans’ disability claims, and funds the Administration’s $88 million request for addressing the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The pre-election session of Congress is now officially concluded. Congressional business will be resumed in six weeks, after the November elections.