Congress Set To Approve 6-Week Extension

September 27, 2011

After a much more lengthy and circuitous path than expected, the Congress appears poised to pass legislation next week that will extend appropriations for the federal government for the first six weeks of the new Fiscal Year, which begins Oct. 1, 2011. The short-term continuing resolution (or CR) also extends the authorization for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, as well as the Ex-Im Bank for six weeks, until Nov. 18, 2011.

Although both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were scheduled to be on recess this week, the Senate remained in session to work on and approve the six-week CR by a 79-12 vote. The Senate also passed a one-week CR, in order to give the House until October 4 to approve the broader CR.

For the time being, the House remains in recess. It had approved its own CR on Friday, but that measure was rejected by the Senate, due to its cut of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) environmental loan program. The major sticking point in the Senate had revolved around disaster relief funding and whether and how this funding would be offset by spending cuts.

Congress needed to approve a continuing resolution by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown, a possibility that loomed large during the funding debate. Of course, the possibility is likely to rise up again in the near future, as the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House still need to approve long-term appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012. Currently, none of the 12 regular appropriations bills have been approved. The House has passed six appropriations bills, while the Senate only has approved the Military Construction/Veteran’s Affairs appropriations bill.

Please click here to urge lawmakers to support a long-term reauthorization of the SBIR program.

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