Senate passes continuing resolution bill to avert gov’t shutdown
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Senate on Wednesday pass a continuing resolution bill that funds government operation until September just days before a similar budget law expires.
Voting 73-26, the Senate sent the bill to the House where it is expected to be quickly passed Thursday ahead of a two-week Easter break by Congress and before the closure of federal agencies on March 28, when the current funding bill expires. Twenty-five Republicans voted against the $984 billion funding bill together with a lone Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
The continuing resolution still includes the $85 billion automatic spending cuts known as sequester that took effect on March 1. It prevents a partial government shutdown next week and also allows the Senate to focus work on the budget in the hope of wrapping it up by Friday or Saturday.
Passage of the continuing resolution was stalled earlier this week as Republicans insisted on voting on their proposed amendments. But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) convinced senators to hold votes on amendments and pass the bill.
Under the resolution, the Department of Defense is still covered by spending cuts but gets extra funding. Meat inspectors will not be furloughed and the White House remains closed to public tours.