Updated Sep 30, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Congress delays government shutdown deadline until November

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

The Senate on Saturday passed a House bill to delay a government shutdown for the next month and a half.

Why it matters: Congress started the weekend on track to be unable to extend federal funding come midnight on Saturday, but lawmakers now have until mid-November to reach agreement on annual spending bills.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 88-9 to pass the bill, with nine Senate Republicans voting against it.

  • Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and J.D Vance (R-Ohio) voted against the measure.
  • The bill passed the House 335-91 earlier on Saturday, with 90 Republicans and one Democrat voting against it.

The details: The measure keeps the government funded until Nov. 17 at 2023 levels, includes $16 billion for disaster relief.

  • It extends authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program.

The intrigue: Several Senate Democrats were furious that the measure didn't include aid to Ukraine, with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) delaying a vote on the measure by several hours to secure a commitment on a vote on a supplemental Ukraine aid package.

  • Senate Republicans blocked a vote on a bipartisan Senate bill with $6 billion in Ukraine aid earlier in the day to clear the way for the House bill.
  • "Most Senate Republicans remain committed to helping our friends on the frontlines," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a floor speech just before the vote on the House bill.
  • "I'm confident the Senate will pass further urgent assistance to Ukraine later this year."

The big picture: While Saturday offered a brief glimpse of coordination between the House and Senate, the two chambers remain far apart on spending levels and policy in the 12 appropriations bills.

  • The Senate has marked up their bills at 2023 levels and wants to fulfill President Biden's request for $20 billion in aid to Ukraine.
  • The House is moving bills that set spending at 2022 levels – below the caps in the bipartisan debt ceiling deal – and packing them with potent right-wing policy on abortion, transgender care, affirmative action and more.

What we're watching: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) could face an immediate threat to his job when the House returns from session next week to continue work on their appropriations bills.

  • Nearly twice as many Democrats voted for the continuing resolution as Republicans, which GOP hardliners have suggested could be a trigger for an effort to remove him via the "motion to vacate."

What's next: The stopgap bill now heads to President Biden's desk. He is expected to sign it before government funding runs out at midnight.

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