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Congress Passes 2016 Spending Measure Averting Government Shutdown – For Now

October 2015

On September 30, the House and Senate passed a fiscal year (FY) 2016 short-term spending measure to fund government agencies until December 11, 2015, averting a government shutdown just hours before the expiration of fiscal year 2015. The measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), imposes a 0.2108% across-the-board cut on all programs (including NIH) in order to remain under the current tight budget sequestration spending caps. 

Just days prior to passage of the CR, a government shutdown appeared imminent as House and Senate conservatives remained opposed to passing a spending measure that did not include language defunding  Planned Parenthood. House Speaker John Boehner's announced resignation last week, however, strengthened the House leadership's position, albeit temporarily, to pass the CR. But the date of the expiration of the measure, December 11, sets the deadline for the next political battle between congressional Republicans, Democrats and the President over federal spending levels and policy riders such as Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. Although the threat of a government shutdown has been lifted for October and November, it remains a serious possibility again in December. 

With passage of the FY2016 CR, congressional leaders and the President have also begun negotiating on a new overarching budget agreement for the next two fiscal years to lift the current restrictive sequestration funding caps and ease funding reductions for government agencies.

Last Reviewed: October 2017