Federal workers rally on the West Front of the Capitol during the 2013 government shutdown, after Congress failed to pass a continuing resolution, or CR, before deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The twinned letters on the Capitol’s collective lips this month are C and R. Together they stand for “continuing resolution,” the colloquial name for legislation that keeps money flowing to federal programs whose regular spending bills are unfinished.
Anywhere from two to 21 of these stopgap measures have been required in each of the previous 19 years to maintain regular operations for some time in most, if not all, agencies and departments. The last time not a single CR was needed was two decades ago, in 1996, because Congress had enacted every one of the regular spending bills by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.