On Thursday, the U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats passed a bill to finance the government till the middle of February, to prevent the risk of a shutdown following getting a bid by certain Republicans to defer the vote in a protest contrary to vaccine rules.
The Bill Ensures Providing Funding Through Mid-February Next Year
The 69-28 vote ended up government funding at present levels by 18thof February and provides Democratic President Joe Biden with more than enough time to sign the measure ahead funding starts to run out at Friday midnight.
The Senate came into action only a few hours after the measure was approved by the House of Representatives with a vote of 221-212, with the backing of merely one Republican.
Another urgent timeline is being faced by Congress on the heels of this one. The federal government is on the horizon of its borrowing ceiling of $28.9 trillion, which was estimated by the Treasury Department to reach by the 15th of December. Failure to either extend or boost the threshold timely could stimulate an economically devastating default.
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Cooler Heads Prevailed: Schumer
On cracking into a deal with Republicans to make the way for passing the bill, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said “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.”
The vote put an end to weeks of speculations about whether Washington might be chipped into a government shutdown during a period when officials are concerned about the feasibly threatening new Omicron variant of COVID could come through into the United States following it being detected in South Africa.
This kind of shutdown could have resulted in the expulsion of certain U.S. government medical and research personnel.
Senate Democrats managed to defeat an effort by several conservative Republicans to annex an amendment that would have blocked the application of the coronavirus vaccine mandate by Biden for numerous workers in the United States.
Previously, Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Roger Marshall had mentioned the probabilities that the government could consider shutting down partially across the weekend whilst the Senate proceeds steadily toward eventual passage.
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Before the defeat of the amendment, Lee said “It’s not the government’s job, it’s not within government’s authority to tell people that they must be vaccinated and if they don’t get vaccinated, they get fired. It’s wrong. It’s immoral.”
Across the last few days, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that no government shutdown would be there from congressional inaction. But he had to put efforts throughout the day on Thursday to get his Republican lawmakers in line over a deal that allows a prompt way of the funding bill.
Need for an Emergency Law
The emergency law is required as the 12 annual appropriations bills financing the government activities have not been passed yet by Congress for the financial year that started on October 1st.
If a partial government shutdown had taken place, it would have brought a political embarrassment for both the parties, but particularly for Biden’s Democrats, who slightly control both chambers of Congress.
The truth that the temporary spending bill provides funding into February marked a victory for Republicans in private negotiations.
Democrats had forced for a measure that would run into till January end, whilst Republicans asked for a longer period that left spending at levels decided upon when Republican Donald Trump was president.
In a statement announcing the agreement, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said “While I wish it were earlier, this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people.”
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But she stated Democrats won over in adding a provision of an amount of $7 billion for Afghanistan migrants.
Once enforced, the temporary funding measure would provide Democrats and Republicans about 12 weeks to fix their differences over the annual appropriations bills having a total of about $1.5 trillion that finance “discretionary” federal programs for this financial year.
Those bills do not involve compulsory funding for programs like the Social Security retirement plan that are automatically renewed.