WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — The House and Senate approved a short-term government funding bill on Thursday that will fund federal agencies open through December, avoiding a government shutdown with hours to spare.
Thursday saw the gap stop bill pass through the Senate on a 65 to 35, passing through the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill into the House. With a vote of 254 to 175, it passed through the House and made its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Biden signed the bill early Thursday evening in the Oval Office, avoiding a government shutdown at the midnight deadline.
The bill includes $6.3 billion in funding for Afghan refugee resettlement and another $28.6 billion for disaster relief following a series of hurricanes that slammed the East Coast and wildfires that ravaged the West.
Several Republican senators made last-minute amendments to the bill, which included halting assistance for certain Afghan refugees, prohibiting federal funds for COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and no member pay without a budget — all three failed.
“We are very, very proud of this legislation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “It’s just a remarkable thing to think of all the things that we can do working together for the people.”
Averting a government shutdown is just a small victory for the Democrats, who face an uphill battle. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a letter to Pelosi that the debt limit will be hit on Oct. 18 and the government will not be able to pay its bills.
“It is important to remember that estimates regarding how long our remaining extraordinary measures and cash may last can unpredictably shift forward or backward,” Yellen wrote.
All of this comes as the House is preparing to vote on Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which is expected to fail.
The holdup comes as Democratic moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are holding off supporting the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that is filled with Democrats’ social priorities. Progressive Democrats are holding up the process because they don’t trust the moderates to support the bigger package if the smaller one is passed first.