US Senate passes bill to prevent government shutdown, sends it to Biden for signature – .

US Senate passes bill to prevent government shutdown, sends it to Biden for signature – .

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Reuters) – The Democratic-controlled US Senate on Thursday passed a bill to fund the government until mid-February, avoiding the risk of a shutdown after overcoming an offer by some Republicans to delay voting to protest vaccine warrants.

The 69-28 vote leaves government funding at current levels until February 18 and gives Democratic President Joe Biden plenty of time to sign the measure before funding runs out at midnight Friday.

The Senate acted just hours after the House of Representatives approved the measure, by a vote of 221-212, with the support of a single Republican.

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Congress faces another urgent deadline just after this one. The federal government is approaching its borrowing limit of $ 28.9 trillion, which the Treasury Department estimated it could reach by December 15. Failure to extend or lift the time limit could trigger an economically catastrophic default.

“I’m glad that in the end cooler heads prevailed. The government will remain open and I thank the members of this chamber for bringing us back from the brink of an avoidable, unnecessary and costly shutdown, ”said Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. on reaching an agreement with the Republicans to pave the way for the passage of the bill.

The vote ended weeks of suspense over whether Washington could be plunged into a government shutdown at a time when officials fear the potentially dangerous Omicron variant of COVID-19 could take hold in the United States after it been discovered in South Africa.

Such a shutdown could have resulted in the dismissal of some members of the US government medical and research staff.

Senate Democrats defeated the attempt by a handful of conservative Republicans to attach an amendment that would have barred the application of Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for many American workers.

Republican Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Roger Marshall had earlier raised the possibility of the government partially shutting down over the weekend as the Senate slowly moves towards a possible passage.

The sun sets behind the Capitol Dome in Washington, United States on Midterm Election Day, November 6, 2018. REUTERS / James Lawler Duggan / File Photo

“It’s not the government’s job, it’s not the government’s job to tell people that they need to be vaccinated and if they don’t get vaccinated, they are made redundant. It’s bad. It’s immoral, ”Lee said before the amendment was defeated.

In the past few days, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has insisted there will be no government shutdown due to congressional inaction. But he had to work all day Thursday to get his Republican lawmakers to strike a deal that would allow the fundraising bill to pass quickly.

Emergency legislation is needed because Congress has yet to pass the 12 annual appropriation bills funding government operations for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

A partial government shutdown would have created political embarrassment for both parties, but especially for Biden’s Democrats, who tightly control both houses of Congress.


The fact that the temporary spending bill extends funding until February suggests a Republicans victory in closed-door negotiations. Democrats had been pushing for a measure that would last until the end of January, while Republicans demanded a longer deadline leaving spending at levels agreed when Republican Donald Trump was president.

“While I wish it had been sooner, this agreement allows the crediting process to move forward towards a final funding agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” said the chair of the credit committee. House Speaker Rosa DeLauro in a statement announcing the deal.

But she said Democrats prevailed by including a $ 7 billion provision for evacuees from Afghanistan.

Once enacted, the interim funding measure would give Democrats and Republicans nearly 12 weeks to resolve their differences over annual appropriation bills totaling about $ 1.5 trillion that fund “discretionary” federal programs for that fiscal year. These bills do not include mandatory funding for programs such as the Social Security pension plan that are renewed automatically.

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Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Moira Warburton, Doina Chiacu, David Morgan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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