Congress Passes Government Funding, Averts Shutdown

On Thursday, Congress averted a government shutdown just a day before the funding deadline was set to expire.

After the House voted mostly along party lines to fund the government at current levels through Feb. 18 earlier in the afternoon, the Senate took up the continuing resolution on Thursday night and advanced it.

In a bipartisan 69-28 vote, the bill easily cleared the 60-vote threshold and avoided a filibuster.

President Biden signed the measure into law Friday afternoon.

A group of Republicans threatened to allow the government shutdown over opposition to President Biden’s vaccine mandates.

GOP senators spearheading the effort gave an ultimatum: Allow a simple-majority vote on an amendment to block the mandates, or they would block swift consideration of the continuing resolution, which would have resulted in a lapse in funding through the weekend.

Democrats ultimately allowed a vote on the amendment, knowing no Democrat would vote for it, and it would fail.

“With this agreement, there will be no government shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said before the votes. “I am glad that in the end, cooler heads prevailed. The government will stay open.”

The amendment failed by a 50-48 margin, with Republicans falling three short of the 51 votes needed for adoption. No Democrats supported the GOP provision. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia had signaled openness to the amendment earlier in the day but ultimately voted with Democrats.

Senators then moved to final consideration of the government funding measure, which easily passed the upper chamber and put to bed any concerns of a shutdown.

Approval of the continuing resolution clears a major, must-pass item off of Congress’ plate before the holiday recess. But lawmakers still need to consider a debt ceiling increase by Dec. 15, an annual defense policy bill and Democrats’ sweeping social spending legislation – though the latter could easily get punted until next year if Senate Democrats can’t reach an agreement in the next few weeks.

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