The Senate passed a second “laddered” short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to fund government agencies through March. The House will now have to vote on the legislation to avert a government shutdown by Friday.
Senators passed the bill, with a bipartisan majority of 77 to 18 voting for the CR Thursday afternoon. The House is expected to take up the bill later Thursday night.
“There will not be a shutdown on Friday, because both sides have worked together, the government will stay open. Services will not be disrupted. We will avoid a needless disaster,” Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Thursday ahead of the vote.
“Avoiding a shutdown is very good news for every American, especially for our veterans, our parents, our children, our farmers, our small businesses, and so many others who would have felt the sting of a government shutdown,” he said.
The previous CR that Congress passed in November funded federal agencies with dual expiration dates — the first set of funding expiring Jan. 19 and the second set running out Feb. 2. The proposed CR will follow the same structure as the current funding bill, but it pushes expiration dates for government spending to March 1 and March 8.
The CR continues funding for four appropriations bills through March 1: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration; Energy and Water Development; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
SENATE CLEARS HURDLE TO ADVANCE TEMPORARY SPENDING BILL
Schumer and McConnell (Getty Images)
Additionally, the CR allocates funding for the remaining eight appropriations bills through March 8: Commerce, Justice, Science; Defense; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior, Environment; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; Legislative Branch; and State, Foreign Operations.
Several amendments to the CR were rejected by senators, including Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal to freeze Palestinian aid until Hamas’ hostages are released.
The aim of having two separate deadlines is to prevent Congress from passing a comprehensive “omnibus” spending bill, a practice widely opposed by Republicans.
However, the staggered approach may not eliminate the possibility of an omnibus. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., a member of the upper chamber’s committee on the budget, told Fox News Digital in an interview this week he believes Schumer and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are likely to advocate for another omnibus this year since only three of the 12 spending bills the Senate’s appropriations committee approved have been passed.
STOPGAP SPENDING BILL TO AVOID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN EXPECTED TO PASS CONGRESS DESPITE RIGHT-WING OPPOSITION
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Mike Johnson must reach some kind of an agreement on government funding by Nov. 17 to avoid a partial shutdown.
“This has all been set up by Schumer, because he wants to do an omnibus,” Scott said. “He and McConnell have done omnibus for years, and they both get to basically get all their stuff in it.”
“We still don’t have any commitment that we’re actually going to negotiate, vote, or amend individual spending bills,” he said. “There’s four months past the end of the fiscal year, and Schumer will still not bring up spending bills.”
In December 2022, Congress passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package that included $858 billion for defense, $787 billion for non-defense domestic programs and more than 7,200 earmarks costing over $15 billion.
Earlier this month, Schumer and House Speeaker Mike Johnson, R-La., agreed to a topline government spending figure for this fiscal year that amounted to to $1.66 trillion in spending.
The budget comprises $886 billion allocated for defense and $704 billion designated for nondefense expenses.
HOUSE, SENATE RELEASE BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON GOVERNMENT FUNDING AS SHUTDOWN DEADLINES LOOM
The US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. (Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
According to Johnson, the achieved Republican concessions involve $10 billion in extra cuts to IRS mandatory funding (totaling $20 billion) and a $6.1 billion reduction from the Biden administration’s ongoing COVID-related funds.
Johnson previously said the new agreement would see some additional cuts to discretionary spending to offset the deal.
Next week, the Senate is expected to work on Biden’s $110 billion national supplemental security package request that would send billions in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Schumer said Wednesday. The package is expected to be paired with stronger border security measures to curb the crisis at the southern border, but a deal has not been reached yet between lawmakers and White House officials.