Schumer and McConnell

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attend a meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2023.

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With House GOP in Chaos, Senate Advances Bipartisan Bill to Avert Shutdown

"Once passed, the House must swiftly take up the bill and send it to the president's desk to avoid a shutdown—giving Americans the help and resources they deserve," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Faced with a fractured and chaos-causing Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate took action on Tuesday to avert the looming government shutdown, voting 77-19 to advance a bipartisan short-term funding bill.

The procedural vote sets up the Senate to approve a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government through mid-November later this week. Both chambers must pass some type of funding measure to prevent a shutdown on October 1.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the chamber floor on Tuesday to discuss the effort and call out embattled House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

"We are now right at the precipice," Schumer said. "Yet all last week, Speaker McCarthy, instead of focusing on bipartisanship, catered to the hard right, and has nothing, to show for it. And now, the speaker will put on the floor hard-right appropriations bills that have nothing to do with avoiding a shutdown. So this week, the Senate will move forward first."

After the text of the CR was released, Schumer thanked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and noted that "all through the weekend—night and day—Senate Democrats and Republicans worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded and avert a shutdown."

"This bipartisan CR is a temporary solution, a bridge that will spare families the pain of a shutdown while allowing Congress to keep working to fully fund the federal government," he stressed. "Once passed, the House must swiftly take up the bill and send it to the president's desk to avoid a shutdown—giving Americans the help and resources they deserve."

According to the office of Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the resolution:

  • Extends government funding through November 17;
  • Extends funding to help communities struck by disaster and continues support for Ukraine at a pivotal moment;
  • Prevents critical health statutes from lapsing to ensure funding for community health centers and teaching health centers does not expire;
  • Extends the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) authorities through the end of the calendar year;
  • Ensures federal wildland firefighters will not see a pay cut; and
  • Ensures the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will continue to be able to serve the nearly 7 million women and children who rely on it.

"A shutdown would be nothing short of a catastrophe for American families, our national security, and our economy. It is critical that we avoid one, and that's exactly what this bipartisan legislation will do," said Murray, noting that senators continue to work on annual appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024. "We have much more to do, but we should pass this legislation immediately—there is no time to waste."

House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) agreed that "the bipartisan continuing resolution introduced by the Senate is a reasonable approach to keeping the government open while we finish our work on final 2024 funding bills."

"It is not perfect, but it prevents a catastrophic and avoidable shutdown, includes critical funding to help communities recover from natural disasters, and protects national security with continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's continued attacks," she said. "If House Republicans are serious about finishing final full-year bills, they need to vote for this bipartisan continuing resolution so we can get to work right away."

Meanwhile, The Hillreported that McCarthy on Tuesday "floated the possibility of meeting" with President Joe Biden to work out a compromise, telling journalists that "the president could keep government open by doing something on the border."

The now-dead CR that House Republicans unveiled last week even though they knew it was "doomed to fail" notably included border polices widely opposed by Democratic lawmakers and funding cuts that betrayed McCarthy and Biden's debt limit deal.

Some Republicans suggested the Senate CR "ain't gonna pass the House," as Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) put it. According to Politico, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) concurred, pointing to Ukraine aid and saying: "It's not gonna happen over here. It's not gonna happen on the Republican side."

House Republicans on Tuesday night advanced four full-year spending bills, though that won't prevent a shutdown.

This post has been updated with House Republicans' comments and Tuesday night vote.

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