From left, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Senate leaders released a short-term funding bill Tuesday — with four days left to avert a government shutdown at the end of this month — to keep money flowing until Nov. 17 to give Congress more time to ink a larger agreement.
The bipartisan bill, negotiated between leaders of the Democratic majority and Republican minority, includes $4.5 billion in aid to Ukraine and $6 billion in emergency FEMA funding for disaster relief. It also prevents a lapse in FAA authorities through the end of this year and prevents a pay cut for federal firefighters.
The Senate will begin voting Tuesday evening to debate the measure with the hope of passing it before Oct. 1 to prevent a shutdown. It’s unclear if the chamber can pass it before the 12:01 a.m. Sunday deadline, as it would likely require unanimous consent to hold a quick vote.
Even if it does pass in time, it’s unclear if the Republican-led House will approve it, as many GOP hard-liners oppose a short-term bill and want to advance full-year funding measures that include sharp spending cuts that Democrats oppose.
“A shutdown would be nothing short of a catastrophe for American families, our national security and our economy,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement. “It is critical that we avoid one, and that’s exactly what this bipartisan legislation will do.”
Murray, whose office posted a summary of the legislation, added that the bill “keeps our government funded, and provides critical dollars to support communities struck by disaster and support Ukraine at a pivotal moment in its defensive efforts against Putin’s brutal, unprovoked war of aggression.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is struggling to corral the votes to pass government funding bills under his slim House majority, declined to say Tuesday whether the chamber would accept a Senate-passed bill to avoid a shutdown.
“It’s always a hypothetical that the Senate is going to do something,” McCarthy told reporters. “I’m not going to take up hypotheticals of someday dreaming the Senate is going to do something. When they do something come back and ask me about something.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged senators to pass it.
“Make no mistake, a shutdown would be a terrible outcome for the country despite what some on the hard right would have us ludicrously believe it’s hard for me to believe that some — the extreme right in the other chamber say they actually want a shutdown. What insanity,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also backed the short-term deal.
“Over the years I’ve been pretty clear in my view that government shutdowns are bad news whichever way you look at them,” McConnell said. “They don’t work as political bargaining chips, they create unnecessary hardships for millions of Americans.”