Senate Passes Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

U.S. Senate | Image by Katherine Welles

The U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to approve a short-term government funding bill that will prevent a shutdown of the federal government until early next year.

This legislation prevented a government shutdown scheduled for the end of the day on November 17 and enacted a new two-step plan to keep parts of the government running until at least the middle of January.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) authored the bill and described the continuing resolution as a “laddered CR,” according to ABC News.

Government funding will be provided for military construction, the Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy departments until January 19, while the rest of the government will be funded until February 2.

By passing this two-part bill, Johnson said Congress will be able to avoid having another vote on an omnibus spending package before Christmas, per NBC News.

The bill was widely supported by members of the Senate and passed with a bipartisan vote of 87-11, with 10 Republicans and one Democrat member voting against it.

This vote from the Senate came after the House overwhelmingly passed the bill with a 336-95 vote on November 14.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke after the vote and commended the work of both House and Senate members for coming to an agreement.

“I am pleased that Speaker Johnson realized he needed Democratic votes to avoid a shutdown. If the Speaker is willing to work with Democrats and resist the siren song of the hard right in the House, then we can avoid shutdowns in the future,” he said, per The Hill.

The bill will now be sent to the desk of President Joe Biden to be signed, which a White House official said would likely happen if the bill passed the Senate, according to ABC News.

White House officials have previously requested that Republican members of Congress “stop wasting time on extreme, partisan appropriations bills” and instead focus on aid packages for Israel and Ukraine.

The short-term government funding bill does not include aid for either country, but Congress is expected to address these issues when they return from the holiday break.

Regardless, Schumer said he expects good things in the future and said the smooth passing of the bill is “a good omen for the future,” according to The Hill.

While multiple leaders in Congress have expressed their support for the bill, other members are less enthusiastic.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said there has not been enough done to reduce government spending and that issue must be addressed once House members return. 

“The speaker has now 10 days to work it out and get Republicans to actually stand up and fight when we get back,” Roy said, per The Guardian.

“We expect that fight when we get back.”

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