Congress approves bill to prevent government shutdown

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Congress has approved interim spending legislation that would prevent a government shutdown at midnight tonight.

The Senate easily passed this afternoon, 65-35, a bill to fund the government until Dec. 3, extend expiring surface transportation programs and provide $ 26.6 billion in aid to emergency disaster. A debt ceiling provision that Republicans opposed has been dropped to ease the passage. The House quickly followed suit, approving Measure 254-175.

“On government funding, what Republicans have presented from the start was a clean, ongoing resolution without the poison pill of an increase in the debt ceiling,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky .).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Said this morning that the House will soon be sending [the CR] the president to keep the government open. She noted that this would prevent hundreds of thousands of federal workers’ leave. President Biden is certain to sign the bill.

The RC does not include an extension of surface transportation programs, which expire at midnight. Democrats continue to hope that these programs will be covered by the House’s passage of the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill later today.

“I hope that at the end of the day the House will pass the bill that we have passed. … It’s the right thing to do, ”said Senate Environment and Public Works Speaker Tom Carper (D-Del.), Noting that he would re-authorize highway programs for five years. Carper said bipartisan “plan B” talks are underway if the bipartisan infrastructure bill stalls in the House.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), a leading member on EPW, said the lawmakers’ back-up plan is a stand-alone bill that would provide a short-term extension of expiring transportation programs.

She said failing to do so would block new starts of infrastructure projects and could threaten the pay of workers on existing projects. Democrats likely chose not to include the issue in the RC to push for action on the larger package.

Even with the government shutdown crisis averted, lawmakers on both sides noted that a more serious crisis awaits as early as mid-October, when the country is expected to hit the current debt limit.

“Republicans must step aside so Senate Democrats can resolve this issue quickly and without unnecessarily endangering the stability of our economy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said yesterday.

McConnell, however, continues to insist that the GOP will not support any increase in debt, arguing instead that Democrats have the votes to handle it themselves in the pending $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. dollars.

Some coastal lawmakers have also pushed for the RC to include language to delay reforms to the functioning of the federal flood insurance program. These reforms would lead to significant rate hikes.

Journalist Geof Koss contributed.


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