Update (2130ET): The Senate on Thursday night passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed earlier in the day by the House, thus averting another government shutdown which would have taken effect Friday at midnight.
The measure passed by a vote of 69-28, ending a brief yet tense period of negotiations until February 18 - at which time lawmakers must either kick the can down the road with yet another CR, or pass a dozen long-stalled appropriations bills to fund the government through September, the end of the 2022 fiscal year.
🎉 Shutdown officially thwarted 🎉— Caitlin Emma (@caitlinzemma) December 3, 2021
Senate passes the CR, 69-28.
Happy stopgap to all those who celebrate.
* * *
House Democrats have reached a spending deal to fund the government through Feb. 18 in yet another can-kick that avoids a shutdown on Friday at midnight.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLaurio (D-CT) announced the deal early Thursday, saying that an agreement had been reached on a continuing resolution (CR) which would maintain funding at the most recent level until a larger bipartisan agreement is eventually reached.
According to DeLaurio, the legislation "includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy" - which will instead be included in a spending omnibus in the months ahead, according to The Hill. "However, Democrats prevailed in including $7 billion for Afghanistan evacuees. The end date is February 18. While I wish it were earlier, this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people," she added.
Given the Friday night deadline, House Democrats plan to put it to a vote later Thursday, with a Senate vote soon to follow.
🚨🚨CR DEAL REACHED: feb 18 end date. This is in line what rs have been pushing for. $$ for refugees from Afghanistan., a Dem win.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) December 2, 2021
Have to imagine a house vote today. pic.twitter.com/t6bFcXfpiJ
As Bloomberg notes, the stopgap measure '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.'
Meeting the fast-approaching end-of-week deadline will require cooperation by Senate Republicans, who have the power to drag out the process.
One potential impediment is a threat by a group of conservative Republicans to tie up the vote on a temporary government funding measure over their objections to federal Covid-19 vaccine and testing mandates.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, gave repeated assurances throughout the day Wednesday that negotiations were making progress and a deal was near.
“I think we’re going to be OK,” McConnell told reporters. -Bloomberg
Some Republicans, however - including Marjorie Taylor Greene - have called on the GOP to shut down the government in order to prevent the implementation of a federal vaccine requirement. Unfortunately for MTG, she doesn't have the votes.
The new stopgap bill is required because Congress was unsuccessful at passing any of the 12 annual appropriations bills required to keep the lights on.