Fiscal 2004 budget delayed until January

Early hope for a finished fiscal 2004 budget has turned into another long haul for agencies. Even though the House passed an $820 billion omnibus appropriations bill last week, the Senate decided against debating the bill, opting to wait until after the December recess.

Congress plans to reconvene Jan. 20. The omnibus bill covers every civilian agency appropriations bill except the Energy, Homeland Security and Interior departments. These along with the Defense and military construction bills have been signed into law.

The continuing resolution passed in November keeps agencies spending at 2003 levels until Jan. 31.

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