WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic and Republican leaders agreed Tuesday on a plan to keep the government open through mid-November and provide $6 billion in assistance to Ukraine.
The Senate’s stopgap measure to avert an Oct. 1 shutdown still would have to overcome gridlock in the Republican-controlled House and a federal funding lapse remains likely.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy could face ouster by conservative hard-liners if he allows a bipartisan plan to come to a vote.
The Senate may not be able to vote its approval for the temporary measure before the Saturday midnight shutdown deadline because Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, is threatening to slow it with procedural obstacles over the inclusion of Ukraine aid.
Moderate House Republicans are prepared to join with Democrats to invoke a rarely used procedure to force a vote on some type of bipartisan temporary funding plan. Yet it’s a time-consuming tactic and they won’t be able to do so before the shutdown deadline.
The Senate plan, which would extend funding until Nov. 17, falls short of the $24 billion in Ukraine aid requested by President Joe Biden. It includes $6 billion of the $16 billion in emergency disaster relief the White House sought.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill was “a bridge, not a final destination,” and that more will needed to be done later to address Ukraine and the recovery from a series of hurricanes and wildfires.
“Over the years I have been clear in my view that government shutdowns are bad news,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. “They don’t work as bargaining chips.”
The Senate cleared the first procedural vote Tuesday evening on the bill leaders intend to amend with the bipartisan deal.
The Senate plans a shortfall in the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program and temporarily extend some expiring farm bill programs. It would also allow the Pentagon to build a second Columbia Class submarine.
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