It's beginning to look a lot like stopgap funding

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Congressman David Obey (D-WI)
Congressman David Obey (D-WI)
July is normally a busy time in Washington. Lawmakers routinely work late into the night debating how to shape the dozen spending bills that largely dictate federal spending for the coming fiscal year.

But Democrats controlling the House have essentially decided to wait until after the November elections before engaging in any heavy lifting. They have concluded that taking a path of less resistance beats clashing with their GOP colleagues, or trying to overcome likely vetoes from the White House.

The decision to stall has roots in June. That's when House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) was blindsided by a GOP maneuver. House Republicans tried to transform a measure paying for education and healthcare into a vehicle that permits new offshore oil drilling. Obey has since suspended the committee's work on the bills for a new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Following that implosion, leaders in the House have not scheduled debate on a single appropriations measure.

It's not unusual for the Senate to afford little debate time for the 12 spending bills. But even here, things have slowed. Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) has not said whether any of the bills will be awarded a vote before Election Day.

The likely scenario is that Congress will pass a stopgap measure funding the government into next year. 
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