The Senate voted 76-22 Thursday to keep a six-week government funding measure on track to pass this weekend, but it looks increasingly likely the federal government will shut down when funding runs out Saturday.
Senators voted to proceed to the legislative vehicle for the continuing resolution — a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill — but there are still a few legislative hurdles to overcome before the stopgap spending measure can be sent to the House.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the next vote, on ending debate on the substitute amendment, which will be the stopgap funding measure itself, is expected to happen Saturday. The 79-page substitute includes $6.15 billion for Ukraine, $6 billion in disaster relief funding and would fund the federal government until Nov. 17.
“I will file cloture on the substitute and underlying bill. So members can expect to vote for cloture on Saturday, if not sooner. Things are coming down to the wire,” Schumer said on the floor.
“Congress only has one option to avoid a shutdown: Bipartisanship,” Schumer said.
The Senate timeline was slowed down by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has vowed to make passage of the continuing resolution as difficult as possible if it includes money for Ukraine, which it does.
As a result, the Senate is not on a trajectory to pass the funding measure by the Sept. 30 deadline, heightening the likelihood of a shutdown.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) warned before the vote that Congress has only a few days to avoid a lapse in funding that would largely shutter federal departments and agencies except for a small percentage of personnel deemed “essential.”
“Well, Congress has three days left to pass straightforward short-term funding legislation and prevent the federal government from shutting down,” McConnell noted. “That’s three more days to provide essential resources at the current rate of operations before critical government functions come to a screeching halt.”
The Senate voted 77-19 Tuesday to end debate on the motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle for the continuing resolution.