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Congress Clears Bill to Avert Shutdown

Senate passes stopgap measure shortly after House
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2021 5:55 PM CST
Updated Dec 2, 2021 10:49 PM CST
House Clears Bill to Avert Shutdown
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., walks with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, along the Senate Subway on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) Update: Shortly after the House passed a stopgap bill to avert a partial government shutdown, the Senate did the same, by a vote of 69-28. There had been talk of GOP members holding up the measure, but that didn't come to pass. "I am glad that in the end, cooler heads prevailed," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, per the AP. "The government will stay open and I thank the members of this chamber for walking us back from the brink of an avoidable, needless and costly shutdown." The bill now goes to President Biden to sign. Our original story from earlier Thursday follows:

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Stopgap legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown was approved by the House on Thursday, putting the issue up to the Senate. The measure that would provide funding for agencies through mid-February, safely after the holiday break, passed 221-212, CBS reports. The only Republican to support the bill was Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Congress did something similar in September, which funded the government through Friday. The bill now goes to the Senate, where opposition and that deadline await.

A group of Republicans is threatening to hold up the measure in their battle against President Biden's coronavirus vaccine mandate for large businesses, per the Washington Post. That's despite the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed the bipartisan funding measure Thursday. Sen. Roger Marshall, who leads the group, indicated he might let the funding bill go through if the Senate would vote on eliminating funding for enforcement of Biden's vaccine and testing requirements. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted against blocking mandates in September, said Thursday he backs the rule for federal employees but is less enthusiastic about extending it to businesses.

Although both parties have said they don't want a shutdown over the weekend, that was looking more likely by Thursday, per the Post. Biden pressed Senate leaders, saying later he expects to avoid the worst. "We have everything in place to be able to make sure there is not a shutdown," Biden said. Sen. Richard Shelby was among the Republicans expressing frustration with members of his party. "We know ultimately we’re going to fund the government," he said. "Do we do it before midnight [Friday]? Or do we stretch it out a few days and get the same result?" (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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