US Congress avoids federal shutdown in 11th hour budget deal

09 April 2011 04:25  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts paragraphs 5-7)

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US House Republicans and Senate Democrats reached a compromise budget plan late on Friday to avoid a shutdown of federal government operations that was set to begin at midnight local time (05:00 GMT).

In a brief, late-night statement to reporters in the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner (Republican-Ohio) said that a deal had been reached to fund federal government operations to 30 September this year at a reduced level.

He said that the House and Senate would hold votes ahead of the Friday midnight deadline to approve a four- or five-day temporary extension of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 spending levels.

Boehner indicated that by Friday of next week Congress would vote approval for details of the six-month budget extension needed to fund federal government operations until the end of the fiscal year on 30 September.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) said that in the deal worked out between the Republican majority in the House and Democrat leaders in the Senate, the eleventh-hour budget resolution would cut nearly $80bn (€56bn) from President Barack Obama's proposed budget for FY 2011.

Republican leaders said the compromise budget would cut $38.5bn from current spending levels.

Republicans had sought $60bn in cuts. Democrats had wanted a lower budget reduction of around $34bn.

The leaders agreed to drop budget “rider” terms that would have revoked developing rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by chemical plants and other manufacturing facilities.

Congress and the White House have been wrangling over how to fix the federal budget impasse since late last year when the then Democrat-majority Congress failed to pass a FY 2011 budget in time for the 1 October 2010 beginning of the current fiscal year.

Federal operations have been maintained since October last year with a series of so-called continuing resolutions (CRs), short-term measures that maintain federal spending at the FY 2010 levels.

($1 = €0.70)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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