Senate advances bill to prevent shutdown

A short-term bill to fund the government through Dec. 11 overcame a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday, just days before the deadline to avoid a shutdown.

Senators voted 77-19 to end debate on the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government. The move paves the way for final passage before the Oct. 1 deadline.

ADVERTISEMENT
Nineteen Republican senators — including presidential candidates Ted CruzTed CruzEleven states sue Obama over transgender bathroom directive Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Wisconsin by double digits GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo MORE (Texas) and Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Paul ties release of 9/11 docs to defense bill Will Ted Cruz let it go? MORE (Ky.) — voted against moving forward, citing concerns about funding for Planned Parenthood and the overall spending levels it contains.

Sen. Dan CoatsDan CoatsGOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill Senators: Aide’s remarks show WH deception on Iran deal MORE (R-Ind.) said that while he supports funding the government, "we can no longer ignore the coming fiscal crisis or President Obama's continued executive overreach."  

"Therefore, I will not support continuing resolutions or debt limit increases unless the Senate takes meaningful action to address these challenges," he said.

The outcome of Monday’s vote was widely expected after nearly every Democrat and eight Republicans blocked the Senate last week from moving forward with a short-term bill that would defund Planned Parenthood.

Conservatives have fought to cut off federal funding for the organization by using the spending bill as leverage.

But that push has divided Senate Republicans, with Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill VA secretary comes under fire for comparing wait times to Disneyland MORE (R-N.H.), who is running for reelection in a blue-leaning state, slamming her colleagues for pushing the measure during a fiery floor speech late last week.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRyan seeks to put stamp on GOP in Trump era Trump and Ryan to speak by phone Bill would require nominees to release tax returns MORE (R-Ky.) appealed to his Republican colleagues ahead of Monday’s vote, reminding them that if they don’t back the bill, then the government would likely shut down as of Thursday.

"It doesn't represent my first, second, third or 23rd choice when it comes to funding the government," he said from the Senate floor. "But, it will keep the government open through the fall and funded at the bipartisan level already agreed to by both parties as we work on the way forward."

The White House also announced its support for the short-term bill ahead of Monday's vote, saying that it gives lawmakers a "short-term bridge" to pass a longer budget. 
 
"The administration looks forward to working with the Congress on FY 2016 appropriations legislation for the full year that reverses sequestration, preserves funding for critical national priorities, protects national security, and makes investments to maintain economic growth and job creation for years to come," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. 

With only days before the deadline, McConnell and Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Wasserman Schultz fights to keep her job Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (D-Nev.) traded blame Monday for the failure to act well ahead of the deadline.

McConnell said Democrats are trying to force “unnecessary crises” by blocking the Senate from taking up spending bills; Reid said the scramble to pass legislation is “another Republican-manufactured showdown."

An attempt by Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanJuan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE to offer an amendment was blocked by his Republican colleagues. The Ohio Republican wanted to include an amendment that would create automatic short-term funding bills based on the previous years spending levels if Congress didn't pass legislation by the Oct. 1 deadline. 
 
Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranSenate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' First US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico MORE (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said that Portman's amendment would say that "not only is the power of the Senate suspended and put on hold, but the obligations of the committee system are put under threat." 
 

With a short-term spending bill expected to pass the Senate and then the House, Democrats are renewing their push to get Republicans to negotiate a longer bill that would roll back congressionally mandated budget caps on defense and non-defense spending.

“It’s time for those bipartisan budget negotiations. It’s beyond time. Now is the time for Congress to act responsibly,” Durbin said.

More in Senate

Senate Dems: Skip break, pass Zika funding

Read more »