The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that prevents a government shutdown and allows the upper chamber to begin work on passing a budget.
In a 73-26 vote, the Senate approved a $984 billion continuing resolution that keeps the government funded through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House is expected to approve the bill before adjourning on Thursday.
Twenty-five Republicans and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (D-Mont.) voted against the measure.
The spending bill includes the same funding levels as legislation already approved by the House, and would keep the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
Passage allowed the upper chamber to immediately pivot to the budget offered by Senate Democrats, which, if approved, would be the first Senate budget in four years. Dozens of amendments are expected to be considered, but by moving to the budget on Wednesday, the Senate has a shot of completing its work before the weekend.
Without the deal, a final vote on the continuing resolution would have been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Voters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Nev.) had warned he would not let senators go home until work on the budget is completed.
The funding vote moved forward after a deal on amendments between Reid and Senate Republicans.
Several GOP amendments were considered, but Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Bottom line Democrats face squeeze on Biden's spending bill MORE (R-Kan.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteSununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP dealt 2022 blow, stares down Trump-era troubles Sununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority MORE (R-N.H.) dropped their insistence on continuing debate into Thursday unless they got votes on their proposed amendments.
The deal announced Wednesday doesn't eliminate the possibility of weekend votes, but it does make it more likely that the Senate could complete work on the budget sometime on Friday.
Reid threatens to keep the Senate in session on the weekend, but rarely follows through. However, the threats this week were seen as realistic given his determination to not go into the recess without a budget. House Republicans are set to approve their budget Thursday, and Reid wanted to avoid a scenario where Democrats would be without a budget for a two-week recess.
The Senate government-funding bill, negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiTwo women could lead a powerful Senate spending panel for first time in history Harris invites every female senator to dinner next week Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? MORE (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), added three full appropriations measures to the House version, but retained the funding levels of the House bill.
While the House’s measure funded Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs, the Senate version adds specific appropriations for Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Commerce, Justice and Science funds.
The original House version added $2 billion for embassy security in the wake of last September’s attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and provides $363 million in additional funding for nuclear security and $129 million more for FBI salaries, among other things.
It retains a pay freeze for federal workers and does not provide funding for the healthcare law, two provisions that provoked some grumbling from Democrats.
Several amendments were added to the Senate bill, including measures to prevent cuts to tuition assistance to members of the military and to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed.
In a vote last week, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to remove a $140 million earmark to Guam was approved after he pointed out that the National Defense Authorization Act passed last year removed that funding.
A list of the other amendments that passed follows:
- Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate Senate GOP moving toward deal to break defense bill stalemate Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE's (R-Okla.) amendment that would delay enforcement of an Environmental Protection Agency rule against farms on oil spill regulations from the end of May to the end of September by prohibiting use of funding for the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule.
- Inhofe and Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganInfighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Democrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms MORE (D-N.C.) amendment would ensure funding for tuition assistance of Armed Service members, which was threatened under sequestration.
- Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnBiden and AOC's reckless spending plans are a threat to the planet NSF funding choice: Move forward or fall behind DHS establishes domestic terror unit within its intelligence office MORE’s (R-Okla.) amendment 65 would direct the National Science Foundation to fund research that is in the interest of national security.
- Coburn amendment 70 would require all Department of Homeland Security-related reports issued to the Senate Appropriations Committee also be given to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
- Mikulski and Shelby's amendment to make technical-corrections to the language of the bill.
- Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE’s (D-Vt.) amendment related to reducing the use of cluster munitions.
- Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud GOP fears boomerang as threat of government shutdown grows Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE (R-Mo.) and Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorBottom line Everybody wants Joe Manchin Cotton glides to reelection in Arkansas MORE's (D-Ark.) amendment would close a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service and ensure that food inspectors are not furloughed due to the sequestration cuts that went into effect March 1.
- Mikulski and Shelby’s final substitute amendment, making all of the Senate additions to the House bill.
--Erik Wasson contributed to this report.