The Senate is set to vote Thursday night on a stopgap bill to keep the government funded through mid-February, just hours after the House passed the legislation.
Senate leaders maneuvered to avert a delay which could have triggered a government shutdown by allowing a vote demanded by a group of Republicans on an amendment to block federal vaccine mandates. That measure failed on a 48-50 vote, immediately clearing the way for action on the temporary funding bill.
“With this agreement, there will be no government shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader
Passage by the Senate would send the legislation to President
A group of Republican lawmakers led by Senator
Marshall acknowledged before the vote it would probably fail.
“It looks really tough for us,” he said.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah, one of the Republicans who oppose the vaccine mandates, argued they should be blocked because they infringe on individual freedom and threaten people’s livelihoods.
“It’s wrong,” he said. “You don’t tell someone that if they don’t do exactly what you want them to do, they will lose their job.”
The funding extension through Feb. 18 puts agencies on autopilot, freezing in place program funding levels and forbidding new contracts, with few exceptions, one of which being $7 billion in funding to aid Afghan evacuees.
Republicans and Democrats showed no signs of being able to resolve the larger impasse blocking full year appropriations bills.
House Appropriations Chair
“Let me be clear: Working families, small businesses, veterans, and our military need the certainty that comes with passing omnibus funding legislation instead of short-term funding patches,” DeLauro said on the House floor.
The stopgap does not address automatic cuts to Medicare and other programs slated for January under the so-called Paygo law, despite Democratic efforts to include the provision.
(Updates with amendment vote starting in second paragraph)
--With assistance from
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.