The Senate took a significant step Tuesday to extend government funding beyond the end of the month, with just days left to avoid a shutdown that could leave millions of federal workers without pay.
In a vote of 77 to 19, the Senate advanced a shell bill that would become stopgap measure Funding the government through November 17, directing approximately $6 billion for Ukraine’s war effort and $6 billion for disaster relief.
The Senate could give final approval to the bill in the coming days, but the proposal faces an overwhelming chance of passage in the Republican-controlled House, where far-right members have condemned efforts to provide additional funding to Ukraine. The ongoing disagreements have increased the risk that Congress will fail to pass a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, before an October 1 deadline to avoid a government shutdown.
The Senate majority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, celebrated the bill’s passage as a bipartisan achievement that will give lawmakers more time to make long-term funding decisions, and he urged House Republicans to take a similar approach in their negotiations. .
“We worked very hard and diligently together over the weekend, and I think we delivered a result that shows bipartisanship can prevail over extremism,” Schumer said just before the vote. “This is a bridge toward cooperation and away from extremism, which will allow us to fully fund the federal government and get to work protecting families from the pain of the shutdown.”
But while the Senate made progress on a continuing resolution, the House kept its focus on a separate set of appropriations bills that would address long-term government funding needs but specifically help avoid a shutdown this weekend. Will not do.
The four bills include calls for further funding cuts pushed by far-right members of the House, who have refused to support a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would prevent a shutdown. . Due to the narrow majority of House Republicans, the Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, Only a handful of votes at their conference can afford to lose, and hard-right members have taken advantage of that dynamic to force policy concessions in spending negotiations.
Procedural voting on those four bills is going to take place in the House on Tuesday evening. During debate in the House, Republicans dismissed the Senate bill as an inadequate attempt to rein in government spending, raising doubts over whether the proposal could pass both chambers.
Even if House Republicans succeed in pushing four bills, their spending package has no chance of becoming law. The proposal would be ineffective once it reaches the Senate, where Democrats, who hold the majority, have overwhelmingly rejected additional funding cuts.
As the congressional gridlock continues to escalate, the White House has accused Republicans of playing politics at the expense of the American people. In A video shared toJoe Biden, formerly of Twitter, warned on Tuesday that the shutdown could force US service members to go without pay as they remain on duty.
“I am ready to do my job, but the Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse. He refuses to stand up against the extremists in his party. So now everyone in America may be forced to pay the price,” Biden said. “Funding the government is one of Congress’s most basic responsibilities. Now it’s time for these Republicans in the House to start doing their job – doing the job America elected them to do. So let’s get this done.”
But Republicans also face pressure from their own party leader, Donald Trump, to hold the line in budget talks — even if it means risking a shutdown.
Trump wrote in a post shared on his social media platform, Truth Social, on Sunday: “Keep it off until you get everything!”
McCarthy could try to pass a continuing resolution with Democratic support, but such an option would face immediate backlash from hard-right Republicans, who have threatened to oust the speaker if he opts for that bipartisan strategy. .
A source familiar with the thinking of more liberal House Republicans argued that only a bipartisan proposal could ultimately pass both houses of Congress, and criticized hard-right members seeking to “burn the place up.”
“These are not serious people,” the source said. “They agree that everything Biden wants is bad, but the margin is so narrow that their votes matter.”
Contributed by Martin Pengelly Reporting