By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 9, 2011 – Government agencies are continuing normal operations after the administration, the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to a fiscal 2011 budget.
The continuing resolution expired last night at midnight, but the Senate and House passed a short-term funding bill that will allow both houses to finalize the full-year spending bill. Officials expect that bill to be passed and signed by mid-week.
“This agreement between Democrats and Republicans on behalf of all Americans is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history,” President Barack Obama said last night from the White House. “Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them. And I certainly did that.”
There will be no interruption in operations for the Defense Department, DOD officials said last night. Service members and civilian employees will receive their pays as normal, and no operations will be curtailed or eliminated.
“This is good news for the American people,” Obama said during an address from the White House last night. “It means that small businesses can get the loans they need, our families can get the mortgages they applied for, folks can visit our national parks and museums, and hundreds of thousands of Americans will get their paychecks on time, including our brave men and women in uniform.”
The agreement calls for $38.5 billion in cuts from the government budget. This is $79 billion less than what the president proposed originally in February 2010.
“Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful,” the president said. “Programs people rely on will be cut back. Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances. But beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs – investments in our kids’ education and student loans, in clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.”
Obama thanked House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for their leadership in the process. “It’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead, from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our deficit,” Obama said. “That’s what the American people expect us to do. That’s why they send us here.”
Had the government shut down, officials expected around 400,000 DOD employees to be furloughed and problems with pay and other fiscal obligations. The president announced the deal less than an hour before the continuing resolution would have run out and operations would have ceased. The last government shutdown occurred in 1996.