On March 20 and 21, the Senate and House respectively passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government for the remaining half of the fiscal year which ends on September 30. The measure level funds most programs from the CR for the first half of the year which had received a small 0.6% increase over 2012.
The measure incorporates the across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, from the Budget Control Act (BCA). Though the across the board spending cuts are opposed by many in Congress, House and Senate leaders opted to include them in the current spending bill rather than risk a government shutdown. Taken together, the BCA’s first and second set of lowered spending caps, will result in an approximate reduction of 15% for discretionary programs from where they would have been prior to the deficit reduction law. President Obama is expected to sign the measure shortly.