On Ice

By Thomas Duffy / November 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Today is Nov. 3. The new fiscal year for the Defense Department and every other government agency started 33 days ago. But Congress still hasn't passed the DOD appropriations bill for FY-10. And from what we were told this morning, it won't get to it this week either.

On July 30 the House approved its version of the defense appropriations bill. The Senate said yes to its version on Oct. 6. But a congressional source tells us there has been no movement on getting members from both chambers into a room and reaching a final agreement on the bill that will be sent to the president.

The raging bull that is running through the halls of Congress is health care. The congressional source noted that the House will take up that legislation this week, leaving in doubt when the House will even get around to naming those members who will be conferees for the defense bill.

To date, Congress has approved -- and the president has signed into law -- five of the 12 annual appropriations bills.