Congress has passed legislation to avoid a government shutdown, but next year's budget won't be finalized until after the November midterm elections.
On Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year, the House and Senate approved a $219 billion tab to fund the Federal government for two additional months, until Dec. 3. The legislation comes as politicians prepare to leave Capitol Hill for their home states in order to campaign.
Democrats and Republicans are still battling about key elements of next year's budget, disagreeing on whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Although tardy Federal budgets have been the norm in Congress for the last few decades, this year is unique because neither the House nor the Senate has passed a formal resolution.
Such a resolution is typically approved in the spring, and it provides guidelines for Federal spending in the next fiscal year. Conservatives have criticized the lack of progress made by the Democratic-led Congress.
"The Democratic Congress is going home this week with more concern about their jobs than the jobs of 10 percent of the American people who don't have jobs," Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told Fox News. "[Democrats have more] concern about election day than about New Year's Day, when we'll have one of the biggest tax hikes in American history."