The House and Senate have approved a temporary spending bill (H.J.Res. 117) to prevent a federal government shutdown in light of Congress’ failure to reach agreement on the regular appropriations bills before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2012. The short-term measure funds the government until March 27, 2013, generally at spending levels set under last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA) with certain exceptions. The House first approved H.J.Res. 117 on September 13, 2012 and the Senate followed on September 22. The bill now awaits the President’s signature; the Administration is on record in support of the bill. With action on this “must-pass” bill completed, Congress has recessed until after the November elections, with a “lame duck” session tentatively scheduled to begin November 13, 2012. High on the Congressional agenda for November is addressing the automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2003 under the BCA’s sequestration provisions (along with expiring tax provisions that will lead to sharp tax rate hikes in January). As discussed in our recent special alert, Medicare providers are facing $11.085 billion in cuts for FY 2013 under sequestration unless Congress and the Administration reach agreement on an alternative budget deal that supersedes the BCA.