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Back to the Drawing Board for Gov’t Funding as Omnibus Falls

Photo: Jack Moore

It’s back to the drawing board on government funding, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he was abandoning a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill because it failed to garner enough support for passage.

It’s likely Congress will pass a continuing resolution as a stopgap measure to keep the government open and functioning. A Senate source told DoDBuzz a continuing resolution funding the government, including nearly $668 billion for the Defense Department, would keep the government afloat until Feb. 18.

However, earlier this week Federal Times speculated Washington could be headed for a government shutdown, raising the specter of a similar fate from the mid-1990s.

Now, lawmakers are now “scrambling to put together” a CR to avoid that outcome, John Reed at DoDBuzz reports.

But it’s obvious to many defense-watchers that a continuing resolution is an imperfect solution.

Before the Senate had decided to abandon the omnibus spending, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates released a statement imploring Congress to pass that bill rather than rely on a continuing resolution.

Forcing DoD to rely on a disjointed continuing resolution “would leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements,” Gates said.

The omnibus bill would have allowed the Pentagon to pursue further funding for the recently installed Cyber Command the special operations forces, he added.

Continuing resolutions have long been a source of headaches for federal agencies, as well as contractors who do business with them.

In an interview with ExecutiveGov earlier this year, Shiv Krishnan, CEO of IT firm INDUS Corp., said the lack of an official budget and the disjointed funding process can “put a lot of restrictions on and damper the industry.”

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