Change

Change can be difficult.

As part of the policy team at MCBI, I have seen a lot of change happen in Washington, DC. We can always bet on some type of change every two years or so. Yes, you guessed it; I am talking about changes in our legislature.

Our nation’s current Congress has a few more days to finish up their work before heading home for the holidays. One of the major decisions they must make before heading home is appropriating funds for the entire federal government. Each year, the federal government’s fiscal year ends on October 1st. Failure to pass appropriation bills by this deadline causes a shut-down of the federal government, unless a temporary short-term funding bill (called a continuing resolution) is passed by Congress. This is the case for fiscal year 2011. Congress has passed two continuing resolutions extending funding for our federal programs, with the current continuing resolution expiring on December 18th. So, Congress has until this date to either pass all 13 appropriation bills or pass another continuing resolution.

The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution this week extending funds until September 30, 2010. Now it is up to the Senate to pass the continuing resolution, however the Senate is still attempting to pass an omnibus appropriations bill instead. An omnibus bill packages together several measures into one single bill, in this case all 13 appropriation bills.

Some people might ask: What’s the big deal? However, with a new more conservative Congress starting early January, the current more liberal Congress wants to ensure they make the decisions on funding.

Time will tell, but time is running out. As a conservation organization that advocates for many federal conservation programs, MCBI is anxious to see what happens. Follow along with us at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app11.html.

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