The Senate takes first step to avoid shutdown
The bipartisan vote opens debate on a short-term funding bill to keep the lights on while House Republicans scrounge up the votes to pass their party-line agenda.
The government runs out of federal funding in four days and the Senate returned to Washington after a long weekend to advance legislation to prevent a shutdown before the looming deadline.
The first procedural vote on a 45-day short-term funding patch known as a continuing resolution passed by a 77-19 margin. If it reaches final approval, the legislation will keep the government open while Congress debates and votes on several full-year appropriations bills.
The 79-page measure also includes $6 billion in Ukraine aid, another almost $6 billion for disaster aid, and extends the Federal Aviation Administration funding and authorities through the end of the year. (The current FAA bill will expire this weekend, wreaking havoc on the travel experience for consumers.)
The top two Senate leaders expressed support for the CR in separate floor speeches.
“This bipartisan CR is a temporary solution, a bridge towards cooperation and away from extremism,” Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.) said. “And it will allow us to keep working to fully fund the federal government and spare American families the pain of a shutdown.”
Senate Minority Leader MITCH McCONNELL (R-Ky.) said a government shutdown would be an unnecessary disruption of the Senate’s agenda while calling on his colleagues to work this week to avoid one.
“Delaying action on short-term government funding doesn’t advance the ball on any meaningful policy priorities,” he added. “Shutting the government down over a domestic budget dispute doesn’t strengthen anyone’s political position. It just puts important progress on ice. And it leaves millions of Americans on edge.”
The demonstration of solidarity puts the upper chamber in lockstep with the White House and further marginalizes KEVIN McCARTHY (R-Calif.), the House Speaker attempting to corral a chaotic House Republican conference hellbent on demanding policy concessions they don’t have the votes to secure.
McCarthy declined to commit to taking up a Senate-passed CR and indicated he would bring his own version of the stopgap funding bill with so-called border security provisions to the House floor this weekend for consideration.
But first, House Republicans hope to scrounge up enough votes to clear a package of individual appropriations bills to satisfy members opposed to continuing resolutions and in favor of massive cuts to the federal budget.
Regardless of what happens in the Senate, the unpredictability of Republican rank-and-file members leaves the entire situation in flux.
To be clear, It’s a shame we’re in these circumstances.
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