The Hill 101: What is a "Continuing Resolution"
A continuing resolution, or a "CR" for short, is legislation that allows the federal government to keep operating and spending money when regular appropriation acts have expired and new authority has not yet been enacted.
A CR is enacted as a joint resolution, which must pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the President. It can run for an entire fiscal year, just a few weeks, or even days. Usually the CR specifies the rate at which spending can occur, in most cases extending operations at current levels. (See: GAO Budget Glossary, Senate glossary)
On July 31, 2012, House Majority Leader John Bohener and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an agreement supported by President Barack Obama to extend the continuing resolution that expires on September 30, 2012 for another six months.
For more information on the status of exisiting appropriations legislation and a list of previous continuing reolutions, see Thomas.gov.