Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Fund Government for 45 Days
In a race against the midnight deadline, the Senate has successfully passed a bipartisan bill to keep the government funded for the next 45 days. The bill, which received overwhelming support with a vote of 88 to 9, will now be sent to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
This comes after the House had previously passed the measure with a vote of 335-91, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for funding the government and avoiding a shutdown. However, the bill faced opposition from certain Republicans, risking House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s speakership. With 90 Republicans voting against the bill, McCarthy had to rely on Democratic support to get it through.
The bill itself does not include funding for Ukraine, which was a priority for Democrats but opposed by many Republicans. However, it does include provisions for much-needed disaster relief. McCarthy highlighted the negative impact a government shutdown would have on Americans, particularly those in uniform, emphasizing the urgency of passing the bill.
Before the Senate vote, a Democratic senator had placed a hold on the bill over the lack of Ukraine funding. However, with the bill now moving forward, the White House has welcomed its passage, noting that it maintains higher funding levels compared to the Senate version and includes essential disaster relief.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his members to vote against advancing the Senate version once the House plan emerged. This further highlights the divisions within the Republican party and the challenges faced by McCarthy in securing support for the bill.
McCarthy’s decision to rely on Democratic votes and leave his right-flank behind has put his speakership at risk. There are expectations that a motion to remove him from office may be filed, although it remains uncertain whether there are enough votes to topple him.
The collapse of McCarthy’s earlier plan, which included stringent border security provisions and deep spending cuts, led to the pivot to the current bill. The rejection of this plan by the White House and Democrats necessitated a new approach to prevent a government shutdown.
Failure to fund the government would have serious consequences, including furloughs for federal workers and work without pay for over 2 million military troops. Additionally, vital programs and services relied upon by Americans would face disruptions. Travelers would also be affected, with Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers expected to work without pay, potentially causing delays.
In the end, the passage of this bipartisan bill ensures that crucial government operations continue without interruption, providing relief and stability for federal employees and the American people.