House passes bill to fund government through Feb. 18, sends it to the Senate.. Preventing a government shutdown isn’t guaranteed. A number of Republicans in both chambers want to delay passage because of Biden’s vaccination mandates.
WASHINGTON — The House passed a short-term government funding bill that would prevent a shutdown before the Friday night deadline, sending the legislation to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.
The House voted 221-212 to advance the continuing resolution. If it is approved by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, it will keep large parts of the government funded until Feb. 18.
One Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois, joined all of the Democrats to pass the legislation.
The Senate is likely to vote on the bill Thursday evening, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“It is looking good that we are going to pass the CR tonight and make sure the government stays open,” Schumer told reporters Thursday after the House vote.
Separately, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters “it looks promising for a vote this evening,” but added that he doesn’t have the details. Cruz is part of the effort to delay the vote and force a shutdown to push an anti-vaccine mandate amendment.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., announced Thursday morning that House Democrats have agreed with Republican negotiators to move forward with a continuing resolution.
She said the bill has “virtually no changes to existing funding or policy,” although she said it includes $7 billion for Afghanistan evacuees. She also said the agreement will allow lawmakers to craft a longer-term agreement that would take effect next year.
The White House urged “swift passage” of the stopgap measure in a statement Thursday, adding that it’s essential that Congress uses “the coming weeks to engage in robust bipartisan negotiations to reach agreement on appropriations and avoid the devastating effects of a full-year continuing resolution.”
Preventing a government shutdown this week, however, isn’t guaranteed. Republicans in the House and the Senate have signaled that they want to delay passage of a spending bill over objections to the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccination mandates for workers.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a letter Wednesday to slow down the process in the Senate.
The conservative caucus in essence is threatening a potential shutdown to push back against Biden’s vaccination mandates, which have been tied up in the courts.
A pair of Republican senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Roger Marshall of Kansas, are also threatening to delay the government spending bill if funding to enforce vaccine mandates is included.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lashed out at Republicans when she was asked Thursday about their efforts, saying she doesn’t even know whether conservatives would have the votes to block the measure.
“But it is yet again a double, a double sense of irresponsibility,” she told reporters at her weekly news conference. “First of all, they shut down government, and then they shut down science.
“This is so silly that we have people [who] are anti-science, anti-vaccination, saying they’re going to shut down government over that,” she added.
Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday: “Unfortunately, it seems Republican dysfunction could be a roadblock to averting an unnecessary and dangerous government shutdown. … Let’s be clear: If there is a shutdown, it will be a Republican anti-vaccine shutdown.”
McConnell, meanwhile, made it clear Tuesday that he doesn’t want a shutdown.
“We won’t shut down,” he told reporters. “I think we’ll get there, and certainly nobody should be concerned about a government shutdown.”
Congress must pass a government funding measure by the end of Friday or risk a shutdown Saturday.
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