Senate Set to Pass Funding Bill to Avert Shutdown

Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz

Congress is on track to avert a partial government shutdown with two days left until the deadline.

With lawmakers eager to get back to campaigning ahead of November’s elections, the Senate on Tuesday evening voted 72-23 to begin debate on a stopgap measure to fund the government until December 16. The vote came after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) agreed to remove his proposal for energy permitting reform, which faced opposition from both parties.

The funding bill, called a continuing resolution or CR, also includes $12.4 billion in aid for Ukraine, $4.5 billion for natural disaster response and $1 billion for heating homes this winter, among other provisions.

Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the CR should pass quickly.

“We must work fast to finish the process here on the floor, send a CR to the House, and then send it to the president’s desk before the clock runs out,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “With cooperation from our Republican colleagues, the Senate can finish its work of keeping the government open as soon as tomorrow. There is every reason in the world to get to yes, and I look forward to working with Leader McConnell to make sure we can do that and not bump up into the Friday midnight deadline.”

House GOP leaders urge a “no” vote: In an indication of the kind of fiscal brinkmanship that could follow if Republicans win control of the House in November, House GOP leaders are urging their members to vote against the continuing resolution. In a memo to colleagues, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) painted the move as payback for Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate on a range of issues “including runaway inflation, the supply chain crisis, the border crisis, or the opioid deaths associated with drugs like fentanyl.” Scalise also objected to the duration of the CR, which he said would set up another funding showdown during the post-election lame duck session, when Democrats would still control the House. Republicans expect to win control of the chamber for the next Congress.

The bottom line: The funding bill is still expected to pass the House this week.

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