US Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert government shutdown

By | November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, November 15 (Reuters) – The US Senate took the risk of an imminent decision partial government shutdown was taken off the table Wednesday as he passed a stopgap spending bill and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign into law before the weekend deadline.

The 87-11 vote marked the end of this year’s third congressional budget impasse, which saw lawmakers bring Washington to the brink of defaulting on its more than $31 trillion debt this spring and twice in the days following a partial shutdown that would have interrupted payment payments. about 4 million federal workers.

The latest near miss with a shutdown led to the Oct. 3 ouster of Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, which left the chamber without a leader for three weeks.

But lawmakers gave themselves a little more than two months of respite. The next deadline for the Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-controlled House of Representatives is Jan. 19, just days after the Iowa caucuses signal the election begins. 2024 presidential campaign season.

“No drama, no delay, no government shutdown,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote.

McCarthy’s successor, President Mike Johnson, introduced a stopgap funding bill that drew broad bipartisan support, a rarity in modern American politics. Democrats said they were happy that the plan stuck to spending levels that were set in a May deal with Biden and did not include poisonous provisions on abortion and other hot-button social issues.

Republicans said they were eager to avoid the risk of a shutdown, which would have closed national parks and disrupted everything from scientific research to financial regulation. But the most radical members of Johnson’s Republican majority (221 votes to 213) expressed anger at the compromise, saying they would try again to rein in federal spending when current funding expires.

“The president now has 10 days to find a solution and get Republicans to stand up and fight when we return,” Rep. Chip Roy, a prominent hard-liner, said as House lawmakers left Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday. “We expect this fight when we return.”

The legislation would extend funding for military construction, veterans’ benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and energy and water programs until January 19. Funding for all other federal operations – including defense – would expire in February. .2.

Repeated struggles to find the funding needed to keep the government — Congress’s most essential function — running has prevented lawmakers from acting on other proposals, including Biden’s request for $106 billion in aid. dollars for Israel, Ukraine and US border security.

Written by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis

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