On Thursday night, the Senate passed a week-long continuing resolution to fund the government, avoiding a government shutdown.
The short-term funding bill will now fund the government through December 23, giving Congress additional time to finish crafting a massive long-term spending package.
The bill passed 71-19 and now goes to President Biden’s desk for his signature. a similar measureearlier this week.
The current continuing resolution to fund the government was set to expire on December 16.
“Negotiations are still moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do and we don’t have enough time to do it unless we extend government funding for another week,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, urging lawmakers to support the stopgap measure.
The roughly $1.7 trillion package being negotiated would finance the day-to-day operations of government agencies for the current fiscal year that began October 1. Federal spending on programs like Social Security and Medicare is not part of the annual appropriations process, and is not included in the package.
House Republicans have overwhelmingly called for a longer-term extension until early next year so they can play a bigger role in setting spending levels for agencies. Democrats in the House were able to advance the bill with little Republican support earlier this week.
But Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, has argued that passing a full-year spending bill in this Congress is better than the alternatives, because it guarantees a substantial increase in defense spending.
“If a truly bipartisan year-round no poison pill bill is ready for final passage in the Senate late next week, I will support it for our Military,” McConnell said Wednesday. “Otherwise, we will pass a continuing short-term resolution in the new year.”
Some Senate Republicans disagreed with efforts to pass a spending bill before House Republicans could take over. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said he supported providing a short-term extension into next year because that would mean “more Republican priorities” in the final package.
Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, has said the two parties had a difference of about $25 billion in general spending. But lawmakers announced late Tuesday that they had reached an agreement on a “framework” that should allow negotiations to be completed next week.
The final bill is also expected to include the Biden administration’s request for another $37 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as other bipartisan priorities, including a ballot measure designed to prevent another. The bill would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge electoral votes from a particular state and would make it clear that the vice president’s constitutional role in proceedings is solely ministerial.