Senate OKs bill to avert shutdown, sends to Biden

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STORY: The Democratic-majority U.S. Senate approved a stopgap bill to stave off a partial government shutdown.

The bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan 77-13 vote on Thursday – with less than 36 hours left before funding would have run out.

It will go to President Biden’s desk for him to sign into law.

The stopgap bill agrees to advance six of 12 full-year funding bills by March 8, and the rest on March 22.

Earlier on Thursday in the House, 207 Democrats joined 113 Republicans in a 320-99 vote to approve the measure.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson had reached a $1.59 trillion deal on discretionary spending with Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, two months ago.

But with 97 out of 219 House Republicans voting “no” to the short-term funding bill, Johnson could face trouble as he moves on to deal with six appropriations bills next week and the thorny issue of aid for Ukraine.

Many Republicans want to pare back funding levels for many programmes.

Hardline Republicans have pressured Johnson to use a shutdown as a bargaining chip to force Democrats to accept conservative policy measures such as restricting the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Major ratings agencies say the repeated brinkmanship is taking a toll on the creditworthiness of a nation whose debt has surpassed $34 trillion.