Senate Avoids Government Shutdown, Extends Federal Funding Until February

In a late-night vote, the Senate voted Thursday by a 69-28 margin to maintain funding for federal government operations for another three months, avoiding a government shutdown.

The House had approved the same measure earlier today in a party line vote, with only one Republican voting in favor. The continuing resolution then heads to the president’s office for signature.

While the measure leaves federal agency funding streams in a zombie-like state – simply pursuing budgets and programs that were first approved for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2020, it avoids a government shutdown that would otherwise have taken place on Friday night. . The current resolution continues until February 18.

The eventual deal on the latest CR has been delayed by demands from some Republican members that any funding extension also include a funding ban for the Biden administration’s various vaccine mandates. Ultimately, senators agreed to separate the immunization issues in a separate amendment.

The amendment, which failed on a partial vote of 48-50, would have prevented the administration from requiring vaccinations for large private employers via a rule from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and providers health care center through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and also reportedly blocked vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors.

Each of these warrants is also challenged through separate lawsuits – and with the exception of the one targeting federal employees, each has seen at least one successful court challenge.

The House passed the measure Thursday with a vote of 221-212. The Republican leadership urged members to vote no; the only GOP vote for the bill came from Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Lawmakers lamented the short-term solution and blamed the opposing side for the lack of progress on this year’s spending bills. Representative Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the measure would, however, allow negotiations on a package covering the entire budget year until September.

“I’m glad that in the end cooler heads prevailed. The government will remain open and I thank the members of this chamber for bringing us back from the brink of an avoidable, unnecessary and costly closure, ”said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

Some Republicans opposed to Biden’s vaccine rules wanted Congress to take a strong stance against mandatory shots for workers at large companies, even if that involved shutting down federal offices over the weekend by blocking a demand that would speed up a final vote on the spending bill.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Democrats knew last month that several Republicans would use whatever means at their disposal to oppose legislation that funds or enables the implementation of the employer’s vaccine mandate . He blamed Schumer for not negotiating and ignoring their position.

If the choice is between “suspending non-essential functions” or remaining inactive while Americans lose their ability to work, “I will stand with American workers every time,” Lee said.

Lee said millions of people were forced to choose between having an unwanted medical procedure and losing their jobs.

“Their jobs are threatened by their own government,” Lee said.

“Let’s give employers the confidence and employees to have the peace of mind that they will still have a job this new year,” Marshall urged ahead of the vote.

Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., Countered that the federal government should use all tools to keep Americans safe and that’s why the Biden administration has taken action to urge employers to make sure their workers are completely vaccinated or tested negative before they come to the workplace.

“No one wants to go to work and fear they will come home with a deadly virus,” Murray said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments are closed.