Congress passed a stand-alone continuing resolution aimed at averting a government shutdown on Thursday, with the bill expected to be signed by President Biden before current funding expires at midnight.
The House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 254-175, after it was moved along in the Senate 65-35 earlier in the day.
The stopgap bill includes language to keep the government funded through Dec. 3 in addition to disaster relief funding and funding to aid with the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
Its passage comes after Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed short-term spending bill that included language to raise the debt ceiling, saying they will not support increasing the federal government’s borrowing limit as Democrats look to pass a sweeping, multitrillion-dollar social spending bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised the bill, saying he believes it’s critical to keep the government open, but took a swing at his GOP colleagues for their pushback on supporting raising the federal government’s borrowing limit.
“This is a good outcome, one I am happy we are getting done. With so many things happening here in Washington, the last thing the American people need is for the government to grind to a halt. But, of course, we have more work to do. Just as our Republican colleagues realize that a government shutdown would be catastrophic, they should realize that a default on the national debt would be even worse.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) applauded the clean legislation, doubling down on his claim that Republicans will not assist Democrats in raising the debt ceiling.
“On government funding, what Republicans laid out all along was a clean continuing resolution without the poison pill of a debt limit increase. That’s exactly what we’ll pass today. Earlier this week the Democratic leader tried to muscle through something different through a partisan jam, but it failed. Now the government will be funded as we laid out. That’s step one. Next will come step two, the debt ceiling,” he said on the floor ahead of the vote.
“We clearly laid out the way forward there as well. As I’ve explained since last July — last July — Democrats need to begin the fast-track process for handling this issue through reconciliation. Clumsy attempts at partisan jams by the majority will not change that reality. It didn’t work on government funding, and it won’t work on the debt limit. They will just be wasting valuable time. I think this reality is hopefully starting to dawn on our colleagues.”
Top Democrats have been weighing their options on addressing the debt limit, noting leading economists and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have warned that defaulting on the debt would have a “catastrophic” effect on the economy and financial markets.
Yellen told Congress current resources will expire by Oct. 18.