Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill
The Senate cut a deal on Thursday night to pave the way for passing a short-term government funding bill to avert a shutdown.
Under the deal, the Senate will first vote Thursday night on an amendment from conservatives to defund President Biden’s vaccine mandate for larger employers, which is expected to fall short.
Democrats agreed to allow the amendment vote at a simple-majority threshold. That means if every Republican and one Democrat voted for the amendment it would be added to the funding bill.
Though Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) hasn’t said how he will vote, with Republican senators absent the amendment is expected to fall short regardless.
After that, the Senate will vote on passing the short-term funding bill, where they will need 60 votes to send it to Biden’s desk. The bill will fund the government through Feb. 18.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) came to the Senate floor around 8 p.m. to announce the agreement and set up quick votes.
“I am glad that in the end cooler heads prevailed. The government will stay open. And I thank the members of this chamber for walking us back from the brink of an avoidable, needless and costly shutdown,” he said.
The deal comes after the Senate has haggled for days over conservatives’ push to link the government funding bill to defunding Biden’s vaccine mandate for larger employers.
The effort frustrated some Republican senators who viewed it as doomed to fail because Biden wouldn’t sign it and House Democrats view such a measure as a non-starter.
Congress has until the end of Friday to pass the stopgap bill and have Biden sign it in order to prevent a shutdown.
Because of the Senate’s rules, and the time crunch, any one senator could have slowed down the process and driven Congress past the funding deadline.
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