Senate clears stopgap bill, setting up final spending talks

Aidan Quigley, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers averted a partial government shutdown Thursday after the Senate cleared a two-step continuing resolution to allow final appropriations work to wrap up in the coming weeks.

The Senate voted 77-13 to send the short-term spending measure to President Joe Biden’s desk. The House earlier Thursday passed the bill on a 320-99 vote under the suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority of lawmakers present and voting.

If Congress hadn’t acted, spending authority for agencies covered by a subset of the 12 annual appropriations bills would have lapsed March 2.

The vote will set up a first tranche of full-year spending bills that the House is expected to vote on next Wednesday: the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy-Water, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD measures. Enactment of the bills will fund those agencies through Sept. 30.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Thursday that legislative text of that package would be released over the weekend. Text is expected to be released Sunday, which would set up a Wednesday vote in the House under the chamber’s 72-hour rule to give lawmakers sufficient time to consider the package.

The final contents of the bills are not yet clear, though it appears that the bills will not feature the big conservative policy wins House Republicans were pushing for. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Thursday that the package would not include “unacceptable poison-pill riders that we said would not fly.”


Still, Republicans are expected to claim credit for wins in the packages even if they aren’t the most high-profile, culture war-related items that received most of the attention over the summer when the House was debating the bills.

“If you’re expecting a lot of home runs and grand slams here, I admit you’ll be disappointed. But we will be able to secure a number of policy victories,” Johnson told members on a conference call Friday, according to a source familiar with his comments. “These bills will be littered with singles and doubles that we should be proud of, especially in our small majority.”

House Interior-Environment Appropriations Chair Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said there were “not a lot” of riders in his bill, as many that House Republicans pushed for got dropped.

“The Democrats were never going to agree to a lot of those things,” he said. “But I think we got some good provisions. So did the Democrats, frankly. That’s kind of the nature of a compromise.”


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