With none of the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills enacted yet, Congress has approved a seven-week stopgap measure that will keep federal programs operating until mid-November. It also extends funding authority for federal airport construction grants, which are due to expire Sept. 30.

With the Senate's approval of the "continuing resolution" on Sept. 27 by a 94-1 vote, the measure goes to President Bush for his signature.

The "CR" funds federal programs through Nov. 16, generally at their fiscal 2007 spending levels. If no such extension is signed into law, programs would face a shutdown on Oct.1, the start of fiscal 2008.

The new legislation also would avert a cutoff of federal Airport Improvement Program grants, by providing contract authority and allowing aviation taxes to be collected through Nov. 16. The CR sets AIP funding at the rate of $3.675 billion.

That extension gives Congress several more weeks to produce a multi-year aviation reauthorization measure. The House has approved its aviation bill, and pieces of the eventual Senate version have cleared committee.

The use of continuing resolutions and the resulting uncertainty for agencies and firms that rely on federal contracts are nothing new. For fiscal 2007, there were four CRs; and three for 2006 and also for 2005, according to the House Appropriations Committee. Those numbers are down from 2003, which saw 12 CRs, and 2002, when there were eight.