With Congress running out of time to finish its 12 annual appropriations bills before fiscal year 2018 begins Oct. 1, lawmakers have approved a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the Department of Defense and other government agencies running until Dec. 8.

The Senate approved the CR (H.R. 601) Sept. 7 by an 80-17 vote, and the House followed suit Sept. 8 by a 316-90 vote. The short-term funding measure, which is part of a package that also contains hurricane aid and a federal debt limit hike, then headed to President Trump, who signed it into law late Sept. 8. CAPITOL

“The federal government must remain open for business, and important programs and services must be maintained beyond the close of the fiscal year at the end of this month,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The CR drew objections from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, who complained that the measure, which holds the Pentagon to FY 2017 funding levels, will hurt the military by barring the start of new programs and hindering efforts to increase maintenance and training.

“Instead of returning to regular order by moving individual spending bills to fund our government and our national security priorities, with ample time for debate and amendment, we are shirking our responsibilities and kicking the can down the road,” McCain said. “All of this to the detriment of the men and women serving in our military during a time of incredible global uncertainty.”

The “world is not standing still,” Thornberry said. “In fact, the threats from North Korea and others grow every day. Yet this CR prevents us from responding.”

The House approved its FY 2018 defense appropriations and defense authorization bills in July, but Senate action has lagged. While the Senate plans to begin floor debate on its defense authorization bill the week of Sept. 11, a defense appropriations bill has yet to emerge from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senators have filed hundreds of amendments for potential consideration during the defense authorization bill’s debate. For example, a proposed amendment by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) aims to eliminate across-the-board budget cuts, or sequestration, required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a statement of administration policy (SAP) opposing a host of provisions in the Senate authorization bill, including development of a ground-launched cruise missile to counter Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“This provision unhelpfully ties the Administration to a specific type of missile system and funding requirements, which would limit potential military response options,” the SAP says. “The Administration would support broad authorization of research and development on missile systems, including those prohibited by the treaty, to determine candidate systems that could become programs of record.”

Retired Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, president and chief executive officer of the National Defense Industrial Association, urged lawmakers to finish their regular FY 2018 funding bills before the new CR expires.

“While we welcome the compromises that spare jobs from furlough and the government from shutting down, this is not a permanent fix,” Carlisle said. “Now we call on Congress and the White House to negotiate a grand bargain before the next deadline of Dec. 8 that provides predictable, stable and sufficient funding for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and beyond.”