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CR/Continuing Resolution

Definition: Legislation to provide budget authority for federal agencies to continue operating until the 12 regular appropriations spending bills are passed. Congress passes a continuing resolution (CR) in the form of a joint resolution at or near the beginning of a new fiscal year (starting on October 1), or when the previous CR is about to expire, and it funds the government at or near current levels for a specific length of time.

Used in a Sentence: To keep the government going, at least until they can work out a deal to pass the 12 bills in some form, they have to pass a continuing resolution, or resolutions.

History: Unless the 12 annual appropriations bills that Congress must pass are approved by the House and Senate and signed by the President, CRs are necessary to continue normal government operations. Since 2000, Congress has passed CRs ranging anywhere from one day to 157 days, with the highest number of CRs signed in 2001, when 21 CRs were passed. Standoffs between political parties or between the president and Congress may lead to the necessity of a CR for the government to remain functional. In December 2018, the inability of the 115th Congress and President Trump to agree to fiscal year appropriations or a CR led to the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, lasting 35 days.