On March 1, the House of Representatives passed a two week stop gap Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government after current government funding runs out on March 4. The two week CR contains $4 billion in spending cuts that target programs that President Obama has already marked for elimination. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has expressed his support for the two week CR and said he expects the CR to pass the Senate prior to March 4. If a CR fails to pass the House and Senate, and is not signed by President Obama prior to midnight on March 4, the federal government would be forced to shut down.
Because the last Congress failed to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2011, the funding for government operations has been appropriated through CRs. The House previously passed a CR to fund the government through the end of FY2011, but the $62 billion in cuts it contained were unacceptable to the Senate and President and were subsequently rejected.
Additional bicameral and bipartisan negotiations will be required to develop a proposal to fund the government beyond the two week stop-gap measure to the end of the 2011 fiscal year.