Chuck Schumer

Schumer announces Senate will vote Thursday on stopgap bill to avert shutdown

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that Democrats had reached an agreement with Republicans on a stopgap bill to keep the government funded through early December and will vote Thursday on the measure to avert a shutdown.

“We have an agreement on the CR — the continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown — and we should be voting on that tomorrow morning,” Schumer said.

President Joe Biden’s agenda was at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown.

The White House said talks over twin bills that would revitalize the nation’s roads and airports and fund social programs and climate change measures, were at a “precarious” point as moderates and progressives disagreed over the scope of some $4 trillion in spending.

Congress, which Democrats control by a razor-thin margin, is due to vote on a bipartisan resolution to fund federal operations through early December before funding expires at midnight on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled votes on the measure beginning on Thursday morning, leaving plenty of time for the House of Representatives to act.

House votes to suspend debt ceiling again though unlikely to pass Senate

The House is also expected to vote on Thursday on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate with bipartisan support, although some party leaders warned that vote could be delayed again – which would dismay moderates.

Representative Stephanie Murphy, a moderate Democrat who backs the infrastructure bill, warned against defeat or delay of the legislation.

“If the vote were to fail tomorrow or be delayed, there would be a significant breach of trust that would slow the momentum in moving forward in delivering the Biden agenda,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

The stopgap bill will include emergency funding for natural disaster relief and to assist in Afghan refugee resettlement, the New York Democrat said earlier.

The clock is ticking with government funding set to expire on Thursday, but Schumer said the Senate “can approve this measure quickly, and send it to the House so it can reach the President’s desk before funding expires midnight tomorrow.” The House is expected to take up the measure once the Senate has acted.

The effort to prevent a shutdown has in recent days been caught up in a fight over how to address a looming debt limit crisis. Democrats initially attempted to pair the two fiscal issues — the debt limit and government funding — and pass legislation that would resolve both, but that ran aground in the Senate due to GOP opposition.

Republicans have said they would support a “clean” stopgap funding bill that does not include a debt limit provision, arguing that Democrats must address the debt limit on their own without GOP votes. Democrats have pushed back, saying that addressing the debt limit is a shared bipartisan responsibility.
In the face of GOP opposition to combining the two issues, Congress now appears poised to pass a “clean” funding bill without the debt limit attached. Schumer said Wednesday that once they fund the government, Congress still needs to “address the urgent matter of extending the debt ceiling.”

He said that Democrats are working to find a solution to avoid a default, but “Republicans have stymied us at every opportunity.”
It’s still not clear exactly when the Senate will vote on the stopgap bill to keep the government open — and when it will make it to the House for a vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday afternoon that she does not believe the government will shut down Thursday night and that the House will pass a stopgap bill to fund the government.

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