(Trends Wide) — The Senate approved a provisional financing bill on Thursday to avoid a shutdown of the United States government. The government funding was extended until December 3. The bill is now heading to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass the measure.
The government funding is due to expire at midnight Thursday, but Democratic congressional leaders, who control both houses of Congress, have projected confidence that there will be no shutdown. With the deadline fast approaching, lawmakers have no margin for error.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that an agreement had been reached, paving the way for Thursday’s House vote on an ongoing resolution that will keep the government funded at current levels. for a set period of time.
“Some good news: Today the Senate will pass an ongoing resolution that will eliminate the possibility of a government shutdown tonight,” Schumer said in remarks on the floor Thursday morning.
In addition to funding the government through Dec. 3, the interim bill “will provide funds to help process and resettle Afghan refugees and ultimately deliver critical aid for Americans affected by storms and wildfires this summer,” the leader said. of the majority.
Congressional Democrats initially attempted to address the issue of government funding alongside the debt cap, a strategy that was thwarted by Republicans in the Senate who have insisted that Democrats must act alone on the debt cap.
On Monday, the Senate adopted a House-approved bill that would have extended government funding to avoid a shutdown and suspended the debt limit, but Republicans blocked the measure. Senate Republicans have said they would support a “clean” interim funding bill to avoid a shutdown as long as it didn’t include a debt cap provision.
If lawmakers manage to avoid a shutdown by passing a “clean” interim bill, the debt limit issue will be resolved later with another key deadline.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the federal government would likely run out of cash and extraordinary measures by October 18, leaving Congress with little time to act and avoid what would likely be a catastrophic default.
Democrats have the option of raising the debt cap on their own through a process known as budget reconciliation, but have argued that that route is too risky and would risk default, leaving it unclear how the problem will be resolved. .