Interim Continuing Resolutions (CRs): Potential Impacts on Agency Operations
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Continuing appropriations acts, often known as continuing resolutions CRs, have been a component of the annual appropriations process for decades. When Congress and the President do not reach final decisions about one or more regular appropriations acts by the beginning of the federal fiscal year, October 1, they often enact a CR. Two general types of CRs are used. An interim CR provides agencies with stopgap funding for a period of time until final appropriations decisions are made, or until enactment of another interim CR. A full-year CR provides final funding amounts for the remainder of a fiscal year in lieu of one or more regular appropriations acts. Anomalies may be included in an interim CR to prevent problems in CR negotiations that could occur if an otherwise uniform approach were used to provide funding and impose related restrictions. The President, Office of Management and Budget OMB, and agencies often are involved with Congress in the process of formulating, negotiating, and implementing interim CRs. An implication of their involvement is that they may influence the potential impacts of interim CRs. Interim CRs typically are intended to preserve congressional prerogatives to make final decisions on full-year funding levels, and prevent a funding gap and corresponding government shutdown. Consequently, interim CRs provide relatively restrictive funding levels for agencies and usually prohibit projects or activities that were not funded in the previous year. For example, agency personnel may reduce or delay a variety of actions, including hiring, award of contracts, and travel. In addition, an agency funded by an interim CR may experience some uncertainty about what its final funding level will be. Uncertainty may cause the agency to alter its operations, rates of spending, and spending patterns over time, with potential ripple effects for internal management of the agency and its programmatic activities.
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