Appropriations process stalls as Congress leaves for 7 week recess

The Appropriations committees in both the House and Senate have written and approved all 12 spending bills, allowing for informal negotiations to reconcile the chambers' measures to begin. While getting all 12 bills through their respective appropriations committees is a feat in itself, it still falls short of the top stated objective of congressional leaders this year - restore regular order to the budget process by passing all appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Based on the Congressional calendar, it seems clear that some form of stopgap funding measure will be required, but there's no consensus yet on how long such a continuing resolution should last. Some Republican members are pushing to punt the completion of fiscal 2017 spending legislation until next March, avoiding the need to negotiate an omnibus spending package with a lame-duck president. But Republican appropriators, along with Democrats, oppose a long stopgap. They say federal agencies shouldn't be left in financial limbo for half the fiscal year without knowing how much they will be able to spend and without any authority to begin new programs or make policy changes.