Top Democrat announces deal on short-term government spending bill

Top congressional leaders said on early Thursday that they have reached an agreement on a spending deal to fund the government through mid-February as lawmakers work to stave off a shutdown on Friday.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroNegotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Republicans must join us to give Capitol Police funding certainty  Democrats return with lengthy to-do list MORE (D-Conn.) said in a statement that an agreement has been reached on a continuing resolution that would temporarily fund the government at the previous year’s levels until a larger bipartisan agreement can be reached on spending for the new year.

DeLauro said the legislation “includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy” in an effort to apply pressure for a larger deal for a spending omnibus bill in the months ahead.

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Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Negotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence MORE, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, also announced that leaders had finally reached an agreement on the continuing resolution while adding that now is the time to “get serious about” negotiating spending bills for fiscal 2022.

“I have said many times that work can only begin if we agree to start FY22 where we finished FY21,” he said. “That means maintaining legacy riders, eliminating poison pills, and getting serious about the funding we are going to provide for our nation’s defense. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll be having this same conversation in February.”

DeLauro introduced the short-term spending bill shortly after her announcement. The bill now awaits consideration in the House, which she said would likely happen later in the day, and the Senate.

However, the swift passage for the bill is not completely guaranteed in the 50-50 Senate, where at least 60 votes will be needed to pass the bill.

A handful of conservatives in the Senate are demanding a vote on defunding President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE's vaccine mandate or they will hold up the funding measure. Many Republicans disagree with that strategy, but if the conservatives use all the procedural tools at their disposal to delay things, it could result in a brief shutdown.

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The push has picked up some momentum among Republicans in both chambers who oppose the mandate, though GOP leaders in the Senate have signaled their disapproval.

Asked about the likelihood of a shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters a day ago: “I think we're going to be OK.”

The White House on Thursday morning also put pressure on Congress to quickly pass the short-term spending legislation to avert a shutdown and buy more time for bipartisan agreement on full-year appropriations bills.

“The Congress has a long history of reaching bipartisan appropriations agreements that benefit the American people. Over the coming weeks, lawmakers have an opportunity and obligation to do so again,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

Updated at 10:39 a.m.