The Senate adopts a bill to avoid a government shutdown and sends it to Vice President Joe Biden for approval.
The Democratic-controlled Senate cleared a plan to fund the government until mid-February on Thursday, preventing a government shutdown after defeating a Republican attempt to postpone the vote in protest over vaccination requirements.
The 69-28 vote keeps government financing in place until February 18, giving Democratic President Joe Biden plenty of time to approve the bill before it expires at midnight on Friday.
The Senate took action only hours after the House of Representatives adopted the bill by a vote of 221-212, with just one Republican voting in favour.
On the heels of this deadline, Congress has another pressing deadline. The federal government is nearing its borrowing limit of $28.9 trillion, which the Treasury Department estimates will be reached by December 15. Failure to extend or raise the time limit in a timely manner might result in a financially disastrous default.
“I’m delighted that calmer heads triumphed in the end. The government will remain open, and I applaud the members of this chamber for steering us away from an unnecessary and expensive shutdown “On securing a compromise with Republicans to pave the path for the bill’s passage, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
The decision put an end to weeks of speculation about whether Washington would face a government shutdown at a time when authorities are concerned that the potentially hazardous Omicron version of COVID-19, which was found in South Africa, may spread to the US.
Some US government medical and scientific employees may have been compelled to resign as a result of the closure.
A handful of conservative Republicans attempted to attach an amendment to the bill that would have precluded implementation of Biden’s coronavirus vaccination requirement for many U.S. employees, but Senate Democrats stopped them.
Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Roger Marshall of the Republican Party have previously suggested that the government may partly shut down over the weekend as the Senate works to enact the bill.
“It is not the role of the government to inform individuals that they must get vaccinated and that if they do not get vaccinated, they will be fired. It’s incorrect. It’s unethical “Before the amendment was defeated, Lee stated.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reiterated that there would be no federal shutdown as a result of legislative inactivity in recent days. But he had to fight all day Thursday to convince his Republican colleagues to agree to an arrangement that would enable the funding package to pass quickly.
Because Congress has not yet completed the 12 yearly appropriations bills supporting government operations for the fiscal year that started on Oct. 1, the emergency measure is required.
A partial government shutdown would have been embarrassing for both parties, but particularly for Biden’s Democrats, who control both houses of Congress by a razor-thin margin.
The fact that the interim appropriations deal extended financing until February suggests that Republicans won behind closed doors. Democrats wanted a bill that would last until late January, but Republicans wanted a longer deadline that would keep spending at levels agreed with before Republican Donald Trump was president.
“While I wish it had happened sooner, this agreement permits the appropriations process to forward toward a final financial deal that serves the needs of the American people,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro in a statement announcing the accord.
However, she claimed that Democrats won a $7 billion provision for Afghan evacuees.
The temporary funding measure, if passed, would enable Democrats and Republicans roughly 12 weeks to work out their differences over the $1.5 trillion annual appropriations bills that support “discretionary” government programmes this fiscal year. These bills do not contain obligatory financing for programmes that are routinely renewed, such as the Social Security retirement plan.
Other Republican senators are enraged by the possibility of a government shutdown.
Throughout the week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed optimism that the government would not shut down.
Many Republican senators told CNN before an agreement was made clearing the way for a vote that they were concerned that a few of their colleagues may force a temporary shutdown, a struggle they believe is unwinnable in Congress.
Sen. Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, stated, “We have firmly advised to them that this is not the proper route.” “However, they have the right to do so.”
Rounds also chastised Senate leadership from both parties for letting the financing debate to drag on to the final possible moment, giving any senator the power to impede action.
Individual senators will be able to do that as long as the leadership permits themselves and the rest of us to be wedged,” Rounds added. “We need to do our tasks on schedule. It does not portray us as stable. And it sets a bad example not just for the residents of our nation, but also for the rest of the globe.”
On Thursday, a deal was announced.
The financing package, which would last through February 18, was revealed earlier Thursday by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat.
Separate from the vaccine debate, Democrats wanted funding extended just through January, which DeLauro recognised in her remarks.
“The CR has essentially no modifications to current funding or policy (anomalies) to generate pressure for an omnibus,” DeLauro said in the statement. “Democrats, on the other hand, were successful in getting $7 billion for Afghan evacuees. The deadline for submissions is February 18th. While I wish it had happened sooner, this agreement permits the appropriations process to continue in the direction of a final financial deal that meets the demands of the American people.”
The Biden administration released a statement Thursday morning urging “quick passage” of the continuing resolution to finance the government until February 18.
On Friday, the article and headline were changed to reflect new information.