The White House told federal agencies last week to prepare for a government shutdown but it now appears that a shutdown will be avoided just before the deadline of midnight Thursday. The House and Senate are expected to vote on a short-term funding patch Thursday, but CNN reports that lawmakers are racing against time and there is "no room for error." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday night that an agreement had been reached with Republicans on a bill that will fund government agencies until early December.
"With so many critical issues to address, the last thing the American people need right now is a government shutdown," the Democrat said. But while the stopgap bill will keep the government running, Republicans forced Democrats to remove a suspension of the government's debt limit from the bill earlier this week, saying the other party should raise the debt limit on its own, the AP reports. A standalone bill on raising the debt limit passed the House Wednesday in a 219-212 vote, with two Democrats voting against it and one Republican voting in favor, reports the Hill. Senate Republicans are widely expected to block the bill.
The broader Democratic agenda, meanwhile, has been jeopardized by internal divisions over President Biden's $3.5 trillion plan to expand the social safety net, which have delayed approval of a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The plan needs the support of all 50 Senate Democrats to pass through the budget reconciliation process, but West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin dug in his heels Wednesday, calling the plan "fiscal insanity," the New York Times reports. "I cannot—and will not—support trillions in spending or an all-or-nothing approach that ignores the brutal fiscal reality our nation faces," the Democratic holdout said. (Read more spending bill stories.)