Authorities standstill: Senate passes financing legislation

A visitor walks around the Washington Monument near the U.S. Capitol at dawn in Washington, United States, on September 29, 2021.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

Congress rushed to prevent the government from closing on Thursday with hours before a midnight deadline.

The Senate first decided to pass a short-term funding law that would keep the government running through December 3rd. The chamber passed the bill 65-35, as 15 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats.

Delays aside, the House of Representatives is expected to approve the plan and send it to President Joe Biden before funding expires.

The law provides funds for hurricane relief and the relocation of Afghan refugees. It appears to be going with bipartisan support as both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Spoke in favor Thursday morning.

“I am confident that the House of Representatives will approve this measure this afternoon and send it to the president’s desk before the funding runs out,” Schumer said before the vote. “That’s a good result. I’m glad we’re done.”

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A government shutdown could put federal employees on leave and suspend certain services. A funding shortfall could pose particular challenges to U.S. efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic – although the Biden administration said a shutdown would have little impact on public health functions.

Congress may wipe out one possible crisis Thursday, but another looms. Legislators must raise or suspend the debt ceiling before October 18 to prevent a possible default on US debt that would lead to job losses, economic damage and a decline in the stock market.

Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, sought to fund the government and put the debt ceiling under the same bill. The Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill, although an extension of the cap would not allow new spending. The approval would allow the Treasury Department to meet its existing obligations.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has repeatedly said his party will vote for a funding law without a debt ceiling suspension.

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