September 10, 2014 / 12:40 AM / 5 years ago

U.S. govt funding measure extends war funds, Export-Import Bank

WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - A proposed stop-gap U.S. government funding measure would provide additional spending capacity for military attacks on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and would extend the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s operating authority through mid-2015, the House Appropriations Committee said on Tuesday.

The proposed legislation, aimed at avoiding a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, will buy Congress several more weeks to sort out a longer-term spending bill after the November election.

The measure continues the overall funding levels for discretionary government programs, services and agencies under an annual cap of $1.012 trillion through Dec. 11.

It would keep the overseas contingency funding for war and anti-terrorism operations at the fiscal 2014 level of $85 billion. That level is far more than the Obama administration’s fiscal 2015 budget request for $58 billion in these funds, based on plans to wind down operations in Afghanistan.

Keeping the level unchanged would leave additional funding capacity available for U.S. military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a House Appropriations Committee aide said.

President Barack Obama told leaders of Congress on Tuesday that he did not need them to authorize his strategy to fight Islamic State, ahead of a speech to Americans that may herald expanded operations against the group in Iraq and perhaps Syria.

Obama’s White House speech at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday (0100 GMT on Thursday) will be his most significant effort to outline a strategy against a group whose savage methods have included the beheading of two American captives.

The House stop-gap funding measure, slated for a vote later this week, also would extend the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter through June 30, 2015, and extend a moratorium on Internet taxes through Dec. 11.

The measure also includes provisions to make $88 million available to fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa, including $58 million to speed production of antiviral drugs and vaccines, and $30 million for additional staff and supplies at the Centers for Disease Control.

In a statement, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers said the spending bill “is a temporary, imperfect measure that does not reflect the changing needs of the nation or new budget priorities.”

“In order to adequately address the country’s real and urgent budgetary requirements, it is imperative that Congress fulfill its Constitutional duty and enact actual, line-by-line Appropriations legislation for the next fiscal year,” Rogers added.

Congress is expected to work on such a so-called “omnibus” spending measure during the post-election “lame duck” session in November. (Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Ken Wills)

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