The US Senate passes a bill to avoid government shutdown and sends Biden to sign Reuters

© Reuters. File photo: On November 6, 2018 midterm election day, the sun sets behind the dome of the US Capitol in Washington, USA.REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

Author: Richard Cowan and Susan Conwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters)-The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday to provide the government with funding until mid-February, avoiding the risk of a government shutdown after overcoming some Republicans’ proposal to postpone voting to protest vaccine authorization .

A vote of 69 to 28 will maintain government funding at the current level until February 18, and give Democratic President Joe Biden enough time to sign the measure, and then the funding will be used up at midnight on Friday.

The Senate took action a few hours after the House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 221 to 212, and only one Republican supported it.

After that, Congress faces another tight deadline. The federal government is approaching its $28.9 trillion borrowing limit, which the Treasury Department estimates may reach on December 15. Failure to extend or cancel the limit in a timely manner may trigger a catastrophic economic default.

“I’m glad that in the end, a cool head prevailed. The government will remain open and I thank the members of this Chamber for bringing us back from the edge of an avoidable, unnecessary, and costly shutdown,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that an agreement with Republicans would clear the way for the bill to pass.

While officials feared that a potentially dangerous variant of Omicron COVID-19 might take root in the United States after being discovered in South Africa, the vote ended weeks of suspense about whether Washington might fall into a government shutdown.

This shutdown may force some U.S. government medical and research staff to lay off.

Senate Democrats defeated a few conservative Republicans trying to attach an amendment that would prevent Biden from implementing the coronavirus vaccine authorization for many American workers.

Republican senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Roger Marshall earlier raised the possibility that the government might be partially closed over the weekend, while the Senate slowly moved towards final approval.

“This is not the job of the government. The government has no power to tell people that they must be vaccinated. If they do not get vaccinated, they will be fired. This is wrong. This is unethical,” Li said before the amendment was rejected.

In the past few days, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has insisted that the government will not shut down due to Congressional inaction. But he must work a full day on Thursday to get his Republican legislators to agree on an agreement that will allow the funding bill to be passed quickly.

Emergency legislation is necessary because Congress has not yet passed 12 annual appropriations bills to fund government activities for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

Partial government shutdown will cause political embarrassment for both parties, but especially for worship For Den’s Democrats, they control both houses of Congress by a narrow margin.

Longer timeline

The fact that the temporary spending bill extended funding to February shows that the Republican Party won in closed-door negotiations. Democrats pushed for a measure that would last until late January, while Republicans demanded a longer timetable to keep spending at the level agreed upon when Republican Donald Trump was president.

Rosa DeLauro, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement announcing the agreement: “Although I hope to reach it sooner, the agreement allows the appropriation process to move towards a final appropriation agreement that addresses the needs of the American people.”

But she said that the Democrats had the upper hand, providing 7 billion U.S. dollars in grants for Afghan evacuees.

Once promulgated, the expedient funding measures will give Democrats and Republicans nearly 12 weeks to resolve their differences on the annual appropriations bill, which totals approximately US$1.5 trillion to fund the “discretionary” of the current fiscal year. Federal plan. These bills do not include mandatory funding for projects such as the automatically renewed Social Security retirement plan.

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