From Preservation Action
As we have been reporting for months, there has been very little progress to date on FY 2011 spending bills. With a polarized Congress gearing up for a major mid-term election season in which polls indicate that Republicans could take control of the House, few legislators have been willing to push for spending bills that could further agitate constituents concerned about federal spending.
While the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies approved a draft $32.2 billion spending bill in July (the numbers for which have been kept secret, although committee members are saying funding for critical historic preservation programs that were proposed for cuts by the administration has been restored), the Senate subcommittee has yet to hold a hearing citing irreconcilable differences on additional spending and on climate change regulations.
Even if the Senate Appropriations Committee would approve a bill, neither the full House nor Senate will be able to take up any spending bill before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
In order to keep the Government in business, Congress will have to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) next week. Recognizing Republican opposition to increased spending, Democratic leaders are trying to limit the measure to current FY 2010 funding levels, although there is significant pressure to include funding for some new programs. Sources say the CR will most likely extend funding until December, well after the elections.
Once Congress returns post-election, there could either be an attempt to create an omnibus spending bill that includes many or all individual spending bills, or an extension of FY 2010 levels through all of FY 2011.
Preservation Action is the national lobbying organization for historic preservation policy. Individuals can join and support its work for only $20; learn more at www.preservationaction.org