The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation that would fund the government through mid-December, sending a bill that would avert a government shutdown to the House of Representatives.
The Senate voted 72 to 25 in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the government, including $12 billion in additional aid for Ukraine and hundreds of billions of dollars for the executive agencies carrying out President Joe Biden's agenda. Twenty-two Republicans voted for the bill, which conservative lawmakers had pointed out would fund COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal employees, Biden's preferred green energy policies, the administration's immigration policies, the Internal Revenue Service funding that Republicans say will add an additional 87,000 IRS agents to the federal workforce, and more.
Biden is expected to sign the bill on Friday, assuming it passes in the House, where Democrats hold the majority. His signature would keep the government open through Dec. 16, when Congress will meet in a lame-duck session after the midterm elections to consider another spending bill. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) unsuccessfully urged his colleagues not to support a Democratic spending bill that would kick the can to a lame-duck Congress.
But neither party wants to be blamed for a government shutdown so close to the November elections. The bill passed and the Senate will not resume session to consider legislation until after the elections, freeing up lawmakers to go home and campaign.
There was a minor controversy earlier this month as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wanted to include language in the continuing resolution that would speed up the permitting process for both fossil fuel and renewable energy projects. But Manchin was forced to ask Schumer to remove his language from the bill when it became apparent Republicans would not support him. Though some Republicans also wanted faster permitting, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not rally support for Manchin's bill in what was largely seen as retribution for Manchin helping Democrats pass the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Senate Republicans have made it very clear they will block legislation to fund the government if it includes bipartisan permitting reform because they’ve chosen to obstruct instead of work in a bipartisan way to achieve something they’ve long claimed they wanted to do,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday as he announced Manchin's language would be removed from the bill.
Manchin said it was "unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk," in a statement released Tuesday.
The spending bill also included an additional $18.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is assisting Florida after Hurricane Ian devastated the state's southwest coast.