Because a new budget for FY 2013 had not yet been passed, passage of a continuing appropriations bill was necessary to fund the government past the end of the current fiscal year. This resolution provided that funding, but only for select programs and only for 6 months (through 3/27/13). In doing so, it temporarily averted a budget sequestration, devised as a fail-safe cooperation incentive and passed in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).
The only programs, activities, and equipment that can be funded were those covered by the FY 2012 budget. For example, USAID cannot fund any new water or education programs in Gaza or the West Bank because they were not included in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill last year.
This measure upholds the funding levels that were passed in the Dept. of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (division I of *H.R. 2055 of 5/31/11), the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012 (division A of *H.R. 2055), and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (division H of *H.R. 2055). Each of these acts was passed as a part of the Consolidated Appropriation Act for FY 2012 (*H.R. 2055). Together these bills appropriated aid and military support to Israel, the PA, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, USAID, UN agencies, and most other relevant U.S. mechanisms for dealing with the Middle East and the world in general. Those programs were each appropriated according to the funding levels originally approved, but with a 0.612% increase.
This continuing resolution was passed on the last day Congress was in session before the November election recess. The debate over this bill was characterized by frustration on both sides of the aisle. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) of the Rules Cmte. summed up the situation in his remarks on the floor of the House (9/13/12) when he said, ‘We went right into continuing resolution act to continuing resolution act to continuing resolution act—sometimes 2 and 3 weeks at a time. That’s no way to run a government. It’s no way to have a Congress.’
One relevant amendment was proposed to alter the FY 2012 spending levels in this extension:
S.A. 2841, introduced on 9/19/12 by Rand Paul (R-KY), no cosponsors.
This amendment would prohibit U.S. assistance to Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, or any other country in which the U.S. embassy is attacked. Sen. Rand Paul also stalled the vote on H. J. Res. 117 (9/10/12) with a filibuster, but cloture was invoked. This amendment was not considered by the Senate.
See also: *H.R. 2055 of 5/31/11, and S. 3576 of 9/19/12.
Last major action: 9/28/12 became public law 112-175 (9/22/12 passed in the Senate 62–30; 9/13/12 passed in the House 329–91).