Congress passes stopgap funding bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said “cooler heads prevailed” as the chamber approved a bill late Thursday to prevent a weekend government shutdown.

Passing the Senate by a 69-28 vote, the short-term deal will maintain federal spending at current levels and keep the government running through Feb. 18. The bill also includes $7 billion for Afghan refugee aid.

The House passed the bill earlier in the day in a largely party-line 221-212 vote, with just one Republican supporting it, as lawmakers raced to approve funding before Friday’s midnight deadline.

What was the hangup? Many conservative Republican senators oppose President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates and any budgetary items that enforce them.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Roger Marshall of Kansas authored an amendment to prohibit federal dollars from being spent to implement and enforce the vaccine requirements, but the Senate voted down the measure, 48-50, in the evenly divided Senate. Two Republicans were absent for the vote. 

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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