WASHINGTON – Congress is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would avert a partial government shutdown this weekend and keep federal funds flowing through March 1 and March 8.
The Democratic-led Senate is set to vote first thing in the afternoon after considering several amendments.
The bill will then go to the Republican-controlled House, which hopes to pass it Thursday and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk before a funding deadline expires at midnight Thursday.
It’s the third stopgap bill since last September as a divided Congress struggles to agree on full-year government funding bills.
A final agreement Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., renewed his hope that the process on how much to spend in the new year will be completed by new deadlines in early March. But that’s far from as guaranteed as right-wing House Republicans to rebel against him.
Schumer ran afoul of a “loud contingent of right-wingers who think the shutdown is somehow a good thing.”
“The theory, according to the twisted logic of the hard right, is that if enough people feel the pain of a shutdown, the hard right can bully the rest of Congress into enforcing its deeply unpopular agenda,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday morning. “Bully, intimidation, chaos. In a word, this is MAGA extremism.”
Around the same time, the House announced it would cancel a vote on Friday ahead of the winter storm and wrap up a vote on the recess bill on Thursday. It will be brought up on the “suspension” agenda, a process that allows the executive to fast-track legislation but requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
The bill would extend the government’s two-part funding period from January 19 to March 1 and from February 2 to March 8. an immigration and national security supplement A bill providing aid to Ukraine and Israel. It was designed to give appropriators more time to craft 12 appropriations bills that fully fund the government using the newly agreed spending levels.
“We need a little more time on the calendar to allow this process to take place,” Johnson told reporters, adding that he was “very hopeful” that Congress would be able to pass all 12 measures.
“We will see how it develops. We’re definitely not going to have an omnibus,” he said, referring to the massive, last-minute spending bills that Congress often relies on. “And that was a very important innovation for us to move forward because there’s no way not. run the railroad.”