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America’s do-nothing Congress took the path of least resistance is voting in a six-month stopgap spending bill that keeps the government running but does nothing to deal with the many financial problems the nation is facing.
The stopgap measure is a resounding defeat for tea party Republicans since the extension is at least $19 billion above the spending plan of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP nominee for vice president.
“Noone had the stomach to face the tough issues so it’s vote in an extension and go home to campaign for re-election,” veteran Congressional staff member John Isaacs told Capitol Hill Blue.
Reports The Associated Press:
The temporary spending bill is needed to avert a government shutdown when the current budget year expires Sept. 30. At issue are the day-to-day operating budgets of Cabinet agencies that are funded annually by Congress through 12 appropriations bills.
Thursday’s vote represents a retreat by tea party House Republicans, since the stopgap measure permits spending at a pace that’s $19 billion above the stringent budget plan authored by GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Instead, the measure permits spending at the higher budget “caps” permitted under last summer’s hard-fought budget and debt deal between President Barack Obama and Capitol Hill Republicans. Typically, short-term spending bills freeze agency budgets at existing levels, but Thursday’s measure actually would permit an across-the-board 0.6 percent increase in keeping with the budget deal.
Ryan was scheduled Thursday to make his first appearance at the Capitol since being named to the GOP ticket. He’ll vote in favor of the measure.
The Senate is expected to easily pass the bill next week and then is likely to exit Washington for the campaign.
The spending measure is the last major piece of pre-election legislation likely to be enacted into law from a Congress that’s been mostly gridlocked from the moment it took the oath of office.