Congressional attention is turning over the next three weeks to negotiating and approving full-year Fiscal Year 2022 (ending Sept. 30) appropriations legislation after the Senate on Feb. 17 voted to approve a continuing resolution (CR) funding bill to keep government operations funded until March 11.

The Senate approved the latest CR funding bill by a 65-27 vote, and President Biden signed the legislation today. With Biden’s signature extending government funding for three weeks, the House and Senate Appropriations committees will have until March 11 on their stated goal of approving omnibus legislation covering the remainder of FY2022.

The House and Senate Appropriations committees reached a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on the framework for an omnibus full-year bill Feb. 9. The House passed its version of the CR legislation the same day.

“This framework agreement is a vital step towards ensuring the Federal government remains funded and open – to serve the needs of the American people for the rest of the year,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a release after the agreement was announced. “I want to thank the appropriators from both sides of the aisle for working in good-faith to reach this agreement, which will allow for negotiations to continue on a final bipartisan omnibus package.”

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“This framework will not only take the possibility of a government shutdown off the table, it will also unlock long-term funding for critical Federal programs, create good-paying American jobs, extend ladders for the middle class, and fortify our national security,” he added.

Barring unforeseen setbacks, the latest short-term spending measure is expected to mark the final CR of the current fiscal year. Appropriators were unable to get a bill passed by the end of FY2021, queuing up the first CR that ran until Dec. 3, 2021. A second CR bill was approved in early December that extended funding through Feb. 18.

An agreement on full-year FY2022 appropriations will also clear the way to free up the funding increases included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed in November. That bill included $65 billion in broadband funding, as well as $2 billion for cybersecurity measures.

“When the Congress enacts this omnibus, we will also unlock the increased Federal funding included in our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will transform our roads, bridges, water systems, airports, broadband and more as we revitalize our middle class,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.