House passes stopgap bill to avoid government shutdown
The House of Representatives has passed a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown and buy Congress more time to strike a deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
The House approved the continuing resolution, 272-163, to fund the government through March 11.
House Appropriations Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who introduced the bill on Monday, described it as a mechanism to keep the government “up and running while Congress completes our important work.”
Congress now has an extra three weeks to finalize negotiations on an omnibus package for fiscal year 2022.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., expressed some frustration over the weekend that it’s taken so long to come to agreement on the budget bills.
“We should have passed all 12 appropriation bills to fund the government for this coming fiscal year that we’re now in — fiscal year ’22 — we should have passed that by Sept. 30,” he said on MSNBC. “We didn’t. As a result, we needed to CR…and we’re now doing an additional one, because we haven’t gotten our work done on time.”
But he signaled optimism that an overall budget deal is within reach before this next resolution expires.
“I think that we’re going to get agreement both on the topline — how much spending is going to be and how it will be spent — but it’s not there yet,” he added.
The resolution heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the chamber will act before government funding runs out on February 18.
“While negotiations on a full-year funding agreement continue, we will in the meantime avoid a pointless and costly government shutdown,” Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “This CR provides a little more time to reach a deal for a spending package. It is the responsible and prudent path forward that eliminates the risk of a shutdown.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said passing the temporary funding measure is “an obvious, commonsense step.”
But he also highlighted three issues important to the GOP. The first is parity for defense spending — meaning equal percentage increases in defense and nondefense spending. Democrats are pushing for a larger increase in the latter. Republicans also want to keep in longstanding policy riders, such as the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding ban on federal funding for most abortions, as well as ensure “partisan poisons pills” are kept out of the deal.
This is the third time Congress has passed a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running since the fiscal year began in October.