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Congress votes to avoid government shutdown

Senate passes stopgap bill to avert government shutdown
02:02

Where things stand

  • The Senate passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Feb. 18 and avert a shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline.
  • The bill now goes to President Biden for his signature. 

Our live coverage has ended. See how today’s vote unfolded in the posts below.

26 Posts

The Senate passed a stopgap funding bill to avoid a shutdown. Here are key things to know. 

The Senate passed a stopgap bill that will extend funding through mid-February after the House approved the measure earlier in the day. The bill will next go to President Biden for his signature. 

The final tally in the Senate was 69-28. The final House vote was 221-212. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting for the resolution.

Why this matters: The passage of the stopgap bill ahead of a Friday midnight deadline put an end to a standoff that had threatened to trigger a shutdown, which could have impacted multiple federal departments and employees.

How we got to the vote: Party leaders cleared the way for a vote tonight in the Senate after overcoming a Republican standoff over President Biden’s vaccine mandates.

To resolve the impasse, the two parties came up with an agreement to hold votes on the stopgap bill as well as on a GOP amendment to prohibit the use of federal funding for Covid-19 vaccine mandates, which failed.

Earlier Thursday: Negotiators from both parties announced a plan that would prevent a lapse in funding.

But due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators needed to agree to quickly pass the plan before Friday, an outcome that was not clear it could be locked in until late in the day when party leaders announced a deal had been reached.

Now another looming deadline approaches: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen estimates that the government will run out of money on Dec. 15, an extension from the previous deadline of Dec. 3.

“There are scenarios in which Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the U.S. Government beyond this date,” Yellen said of the new deadline in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 16.

While the pushed deadline gives lawmakers some additional time to address the debt ceiling, it remains unclear how Democrats will proceed after Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly stated they will not help with legislation to raise the limit.

CNN’s Paul LeBlanc and Brian Rokus contributed reporting to this post. 

NOW: Senate is voting on a resolution to avoid a government shutdown

The Senate is voting on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced earlier this evening that a deal had been reached for the chamber to pass a bill to keep the government funded through Feb. 18.

How we got here: Negotiators from both parties announced a plan this morning that would prevent a lapse in funding, but due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators would need to agree in order to quickly pass the plan before Friday, and a handful of GOP senators had been standing by their threats to delay the process over the vaccine rules.

Senate will next vote on stopgap funding bill after GOP anti-vaccine mandate amendment fails

The Senate failed to approve the GOP-backed amendment that would prohibit the use of federal funds to implement or enforce vaccine mandates for Covid-19, including for large businesses, federal health care workers and the military.  

The vote tally was 48 to 50 with moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema joining with their fellow Democrats in opposition.

The Senate will next vote on the stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. 

Schumer says deal has been reached to avoid government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just announced a deal to avert a government shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline.

“An agreement has been reached between Democrats and Republicans that will allow the Senate to take up and pass the continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18. With this agreement there will be no government shutdown,” he said in remarks on the Senate floor.

At 8:15 p.m. ET, the Senate will move to vote on GOP Sens. Roger Marshall and Mike Lee’s amendment regarding the vaccine mandate on businesses, followed by final passage of the House-passed credit resolution.

Senate expected to vote on credit resolution soon, source says

The Senate is expected to start voting soon on the GOP vaccine amendment, which could take 40 minutes to an hour, a senate source said.

They are then expected to vote on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.  

Senate should start voting within an hour or so on vaccine amendment, followed by the resolution

The Senate is expected to start voting within an hour or so on the GOP vaccine amendment followed by passage of the continuing resolution to keep the government funded, per a Senate source. 

The vote on the vaccine amendment would take approximately 40 minutes to an hour.

Schumer says it’s "looking good" on potential Senate vote to avert a shutdown tonight

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it is “looking good” on whether the Senate will approve the House-passed continuing resolution tonight, averting a shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline. 

“It is looking good that we are going to pass the CR tonight and make sure the government stays open, it’s looking very good,” Schumer said. 

He didn’t respond to questions about the details of the emerging agreement. 

GOP leadership trying to push for a Senate vote tonight to avert shutdown

Sen. Roy Blunt speaks with reporters, Thursday, December 2, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the party’s leadership, told CNN that leaders are trying to find a way forward that could potentially clear the path for a vote on the continuing resolution in the Senate tonight. 

The House just passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18. It’s now up to the Senate to pass it before the threat of a government shutdown Friday at midnight

Blunt said nothing is locked in, but there is an active discussion to see if it would be possible to vote on a few amendments and the credit bill this evening, so that lawmakers could leave town for the weekend and avert a government shutdown. 

Blunt said the two senators holding up this process are still demanding a vote on their amendment to defund Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses at a 50-vote threshold, but Republicans don’t have 50 members here. In other words, the amendment would have virtually no chance of passing. It’s not clear Democrats would allow the amendment to come up even if it couldn’t pass. 

Other GOP senators are echoing Blunt’s comments that it is possible the Senate will vote tonight to keep the government funded.

Sen. Roger Marshall said he expects the Senate to vote tonight on the House-passed resolution along with a vote on his amendment to defund Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses at a 50-vote threshold. 

“I think we’re going to get our amendment at a 50-vote threshold and what the vote count is going to be, I think we’re still counting votes,” he said. 

“I think it’s this evening,” he added, when asked if he thinks the Senate will vote tonight on the bill. “I think that’s why everyone’s sitting around and standing around here still.”

Sen. Ted Cruz said he thinks it looks promising for a vote this evening. 

“I don’t think the details are finalized yet,” he said, noting he doesn’t know what the vote threshold for the vaccine amendment would be. 

Three GOP senators were absent for the latest vote making it even harder for Republicans to get the simple majority that they would need to succeed. 

House passes bill to fund the government as Republican senators stand by shutdown threat 

The House has passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18, as congressional negotiators face the threat of a shutdown Friday at midnight because Republican senators are objecting to President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

The final vote was 221-212. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting for the resolution. 

The resolution will now go to the Senate where the shutdown threat remains.

Key negotiators from both parties announced a plan Thursday morning that would prevent a lapse in funding, but due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators would need to agree in order to quickly pass the plan before Friday while a handful of GOP senators are standing by their threats to delay the process over the vaccine rules.

Some context: A group of Senate Republicans has repeatedly threatened throughout the week to delay passage of the continuing resolution over the Biden administration’s rule that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing and wear face masks in the workplace.

While lawmakers are confident that they can ultimately prevent a prolonged shutdown, a brief shutdown over the weekend, or extending into next week, remains a possibility.

NOW: House votes on resolution to fund government through February

The House is voting now on a continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18.

If passed, the resolution will go to the Senate where the threat of a government shutdown remains because a group of Republican senators are objecting to President Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

What we know so far about the funding agreement announced by congressional leaders 

The federal government faces the threat of shutting down Friday at midnight, despite an announcement from congressional leaders Thursday of an agreement to extend funding into February, because Republican senators are objecting to President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Key negotiators from both parties announced a plan Thursday morning that would keep the federal government funded, but due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators would need to agree in order to quickly pass the plan before Friday, and a handful of GOP senators are standing by their threats to delay the process over the vaccine rules.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, announced the latest plan, which would go through Feb. 18, and the House is expected to vote as soon as Thursday.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also said negotiators had reached a deal, though his announcement made no mention of Republican objections over the vaccine mandate.

Separate from the vaccine issue, Democrats had wanted to extend funding only into January, a concession DeLauro acknowledged in her statement.

“To build pressure for an omnibus, the CR includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy (anomalies),” DeLauro said in the announcement. “However, Democrats prevailed in including $7 billion for Afghanistan evacuees. The end date is February 18. 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.”

The Biden administration issued a statement Thursday morning that said it “strongly urges swift passage” of the continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18.

A group of Senate Republicans, however, have repeatedly threatened throughout the week to delay passage of the continuing resolution over the Biden administration’s rule that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing and wear face masks in the workplace.

Read more about where things stand here.

Biden: "I don't believe" there will be a government shutdown tomorrow

President Biden said Thursday he’d spoken to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the prospect of a looming government shutdown Friday, but he remained confident Congress would reach a deal to avert one in time.

“Look, I don’t believe that will happen. We have everything in place to be able to make sure there’s not a shutdown. … I spoke with Mitch McConnell, I spoke with Schumer, there is a plan in place, unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don’t think that will happen, so I don’t think there will be a shutdown,” Biden told reporters at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Earlier in his remarks, Biden acknowledged efforts on the part of a small group of Republicans, who’ve indicated they will oppose passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government, over the administration’s federal vaccine requirement.

Biden says plan for vaccine mandates "should unite us" and shouldn't be a political issue

President Biden said vaccine mandates should not be a political issue, as GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Roger Marshall are leading an effort to delay passage of the continuing resolution to fund the government over Biden’s mandate for large employers.

“Now as we move into the winter and face the challenges of the new variant, this is a moment we can put the divisiveness behind us, I hope. This is a moment when we can do what we haven’t been able to do enough of through this whole pandemic: get the nation to come together, unite the nation in a common purpose to fight this virus, to protect one another, to protect our economic recovery and to think of it in terms of literally as a patriotic responsibility rather than somehow you’re denying people their basic rights,” Biden said during remarks at the National Institutes of Health.

Biden said his winter Covid-19 plan announcement today “does not expand or add to those mandates.”

“Some of my friends on the other team are arguing that if I don’t commit that there’ll never be any more mandates, they’re going to let us default,” he said.

Biden said people in his old neighborhood would say “go figure” to those Republicans’ plans.

GOP senator warns he'll block quick funding bill vote over amendment to defund vaccine mandate

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said on the Senate floor he wants a vote on his amendment to defund President Biden’s business vaccine mandate, by a simple majority, to allow passage of the stop-gap measure to keep government open by end of the day Friday.

There’s a chance it could pass if it’s a 51-vote threshold. Democrats likely will insist it be set at a 60-vote threshold, where it would not pass.

A number of Republicans disagree with that strategy and are urging Lee to instead focus on a separate process to go after the mandate.

On the floor, Lee accused Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of waiting until the last minute to try to move the stop-gap measure, which now requires consent of all 100 senators to schedule a quick vote.

But Lee made it clear that he won’t consent to a quick vote.

“The only thing I want to shutdown is enforcement of an immoral, unconstitutional vaccine mandate,” he said.

If he sticks with this threat, it could shut the government down til early next week.