House and Senate Finally Prove They Can Work Together


Hold the presses. Pop the corks. A self-created crisis has been avoided. Congress has agreed to fund government through the September 30, 2013.

Humor me for just a minute. Let me relish the fact the Senate passed 73-26 its version of the continuing resolution (CR) passed by the House several weeks ago to fund the government through the end of the year.

Cut the old guy some slack as I pleasantly reflect on the House passing the Senate’s version of the CR in a rare show of super-majority support by a vote of 318-109.

Okay, I fully admit there is no reasonable explanation for anyone celebrating Congress finally fulfilling one of its most basic functions. But we are talking about today’s, not your father’s, Congress.

The Senate’s eight days of debate considered over 100 Amendments to the CR sent to it by the House. Two relating to funding health inspectors and educational grants for veterans were actually included in the revision sent back to the House.

The vast majority never made it to the floor for open debate. Yet the revision of the CR encompassed over 600 pages, with much of that language relegated to spelling out how the sequester cuts could be partially avoided through reallocation of funds and where the cuts would be specifically implemented.

The House had begun this process in version of the CR earlier in March. The Senate finished off the process addressing the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Justice, Commerce, Agriculture and Homeland Security, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, National Science Foundation, and NASA.

I’d love to report, there was no political grandstanding. But that simply isn't true, as on a pure party vote, Democrats in the Senate vetoed an amendment to transfer 6 million to reopen to public tours for the White House, the Flight 93 Memorial in Shankesville and Yellow Stone.

But in the big picture, both parties worked together to avoid one more self-created potential crisis which could have shut down the federal government. With the final passage of the CR, two-thirds of the discretionary funding for 2013 will now be subject to relatively detailed appropriations. The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

Maybe just maybe our new Congress is beginning to understand, "You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need."

For more details you can read more past the jump at Politico.