Vote to avoid government shutdown passes in Senate

September 30, 2023

The Senate on Saturday voted in favor of a clean funding stopgap bill to keep government open for 45 days and avert a shutdown at midnight.

The final vote was in 88 favor and 9 against, surpassing the necessary threshold of 60 yes votes just before 8:30pm ET.

The House sent the stopgap legislation after House Democrats led the vote in favor of the GOP-led legislation put forward by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The House vote was 335-91, exceeding a necessary two-thirds majority, with 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans voting yes. Only one Democrat voted against the legislation, while 90 Republicans voted against their own party’s measure.

The House legislation, which can be read here, includes status quo spending levels that the government has been working under for the past year, with only disaster relief and FAA reauthorization funding additionally attached. 

Funding for politically charged issues like Ukraine aid and U.S.-Mexico border security were not attached to the bill. 

That absence of funding for Ukraine in the House legislation became something of a sticking point when the bill moved to the Senate. The upper chamber had reportedly expected to begin voting, 6:30pm ET. Instead, while Senate leaders’ attempt to resolve an objection regarding Ukraine by Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO), the start-time for the voting was delayed by more than 90 minutes.

“Leader McConnell and I have agreed to continue fighting for more economic and security aid for Ukraine,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the chamber floor shortly after 8pm ET and ahead of the vote. “We support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereignty against Putin’s aggression. So, thank you, thank you to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their excellent work. The bipartisanship here in the senate set the tone for today’s result. And I hope it sets the tone for the future.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) then took the floor to add, “Senate Republicans remain committed to helping our friends on the front lines.”

When Saturday beganSenate had been set to hold a procedural vote Saturday afternoon on legislation it forwarded Thursday that would keep the government open through mid-November. 

That plan was scrapped in favor of a vote on the House bill. 

A government shutdown would have stymied services in such areas as food safety, air travel, national parks, and the military where roughly 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists as well as two million civilian employees could be furloughed.

The last government shutdown occurred in December 2018-January 2019 and stretched on for five weeks in a dispute between then-President Trump and Democratic Congressional leadership over funding his border wall.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, that shutdown—the nation’s longest ever—lowered the nation’s projected level of real GDP in the first quarter of 2019 by $8 billion, of which the CBO estimated only $5 billion was recovered.

PHOTO: Senate vote on stopgap to avoid shutdown  ( lik: https://www.c-span.org/networks/?channel=c-span-2 )

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