ACORN Defunded Until October 31st. That's It.

Posted: Oct 16, 2009 4:23 PM
There's a lot of talk out there about ACORN being stripped of their federal funding, and restricted from receiving federal funds in the future. Sadly, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Here's what really happened:

On October 1, 2009, the President signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep government programs running at their current spending levels for one month.  This was necessary because Congress has not yet passed the annual appropriations bills which fund all government programs into the new fiscal year, which began October 1st.

In the Conference Report accompanying that bill, Congress included the following provision in Division B which prohibited ACORN from accessing federal funding:  
Sec. 163. None of the funds made available by this joint resolution or any prior Act may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations.
However, the CR expires on October 31, 2009:

Division B provides continuing appropriations for all agencies and activities that would be covered by the regular fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills, until enactment of the applicable regular appropriations bill, or until October 31, 2009, whichever occurs first.
Congress can pass another CR if it hasn’t finished passing the spending bills.  That CR would also have an expiration date of a matter of days or weeks or maybe months.  But, unless that CR includes the same language as Sec. 163, money will flow right back to ACORN on November 1st.

Even if Congress passes its appropriations bills before November 1st, unless they include that language, ACORN will be eligible for funding again.  And, remember in that case, the language has to be in all of the bills.  There are 12 appropriations bills, each funding different government agencies and programs.  Adding the prohibition language to, say, the Transportation funding bill doesn’t stop ACORN from accessing Housing funds.

And, even if Congress were to include that language in all 12 appropriations bills, that ACORN-prohibition language would expire on September 30th – the final day of Fiscal Year 2010.

The only way to ensure that ACORN is barred from federal funds across the board and for more than a brief time is for the White House to suspend and bar ACORN from federal funds.  It doesn’t have to take an act of Congress.