WASHINGTON - Ending the threat of a government shutdown until after the holidays, Congress gave final approval Wednesday night to a temporary government funding package that pushes a confrontation over the federal budget into the new year.
The Senate met into the night to pass the bill with an overwhelming 87-11 tally and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature one day after it passed the House on an overwhelming bipartisan vote. It provides a funding patch into next year, when the House and Senate will be forced to confront — and somehow overcome — their considerable differences over what funding levels should be.
In the meantime, the bill removes the threat of a government shutdown days before funding would have expired.
"This Friday night there will be no government shutdown," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech ahead of the final vote.
The spending package keeps government funding at current levels for roughly two more months while a long-term package is negotiated. It splits the deadlines for passing full-year appropriations bills into two dates: Jan. 19 for some federal agencies and Feb. 2 for others, creating two deadlines where there will be a risk of a partial government shutdown.
"Everybody is really kind of ready to vote and fight another day," Republican Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Republican, said earlier Wednesday.
If signed, the spending package would keep government funding at current levels for roughly two more months while a long-term package is negotiated. It splits the deadlines for passing full-year appropriations bills into two dates: Jan. 19 for some federal agencies and Feb. 2 for others, creating two deadlines where there will be a risk of a partial government shutdown.
The spending bill does not include the White House’s nearly $106 billion request for wartime aid for Israel and Ukraine, as well as humanitarian funding for Palestinians and other supplemental requests. Lawmakers are likely to turn their attention more fully to that request after the Thanksgiving holiday in hopes of negotiating a deal.
Schumer called the stopgap funding plan "far from perfect," but said he would support it because it averts a shutdown and "will do so without any of the cruel cuts or poison pills" that hardline conservatives wanted.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, who crafted the plan, has vowed that he will not support any further stopgap funding measures, known as continuing resolutions. He portrayed the temporary funding bill as setting the ground for a spending "fight" with the Senate next year.
The new speaker, who told reporters this week that he counted himself among the "arch-conservatives" of the House, is pushing for deeper spending cuts. He wanted to avoid lawmakers being forced to consider a massive government funding package before the December holidays — a tactic that incenses conservatives in particular.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.