House to act on spending resolution

Sept. 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. House ended its recess Tuesday and turned its attention to fiscal matters amid warnings from a credit-rating service.

A continuing resolution to increase spending 0.6 percent for all agencies, conforming to a deal reached in August 2011 that set the debt ceiling at $1.047 trillion, could come up as early as Thursday, The Hill reported.

The continuing resolution comes up as action remained stalled on the so-called "fiscal cliff" that looms at the end of the year -- the end of Bush-era tax cuts and automatic across the board spending cuts. Moody's Investors Service Tuesday warned it would strip the United States of its AAA credit rating if the issues are not resolved. Standard & Poor's did just that during last year's political infighting.

The bill does not include of the 1996 welfare reform law, which expires this month. It also continues a pay freeze for federal workers.

The Obama administration had requested a 0.5 percent increase.

Some budget areas got special treatment. Money to fight wildfires, to modernize nuclear weapons and to increase border patrols got emergency funding.

However, there were losers too, Politico reported.

There was no consideration for disaster aid for farmers affected by the drought. The Coast Guard won't see its order for a sixth national security cutter filled in the coming year.

The Defense Department got some of the most noticeable cuts. The V-22 Osprey requested by the Marines was delayed, and the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln didn't get money for a scheduled overhaul and refueling. New limits also were placed on Pentagon contracting.

Spending on overseas conflicts such as Afghanistan, as expected, was cut 24 percent from 2012 levels. This "peace dividend" results from the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq and their diminishing role in Afghanistan.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., noted that the full House passed seven of the 12 appropriations bills and expressed disappointment the committee's work had been wasted.

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