Senators reveal bipartisan plan to avert shutdown for 7 weeks

Senators reveal bipartisan plan to avert shutdown for 7 weeks

Senate leaders released the details of a seven-week stopgap spending bill on Tuesday afternoon, hoping to pass a bill through both chambers of Congress within five days — and little room for error.

The temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, would fund federal agencies at current levels through Nov. 17, setting up another government funding deadline before Thanksgiving rather than at midnight on Saturday. It would provide about $6 billion each for Ukraine and disaster aid, far below the White House’s requests for each, and include the Federal Aviation Administration extension through the end of the year. It provides no additional funding for the border.

The measure effectively punts bigger fights on Ukraine aid and disaster relief in order to move the agreement more quickly through the Senate, as conservatives threaten to delay the bill amid objections to Ukraine funding and other issues. All 100 senators have to agree to greenlight fast passage under the chamber’s rules, otherwise a final vote wouldn’t occur until after the shutdown deadline had passed.

Still, the measure could easily pass the Senate and stall in the House, where Speaker Kevin McCarthy continues to try mustering conservative support for any sort of stopgap funding plan. Hardliners in that chamber have threatened to try to boot the speaker if he works with Democrats to keep the government open.

A ‘standard’ funding fix: Before unveiling the text, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the stopgap “a bridge. Not a final destination.”

“We can and must do more to respond to disasters that have ravaged the country,” he said. “We can and must do more to stand with our friends in Ukraine.”

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell billed the measure as a “standard, responsible step forward” that buys more time for bipartisan negotiations on a broader government funding deal and Ukraine aid, among other issues.

“The sooner Congress keeps the light on, the sooner these conversations can resume,” he said.

What’s next: The Senate will take its first step toward advancing the measure on Tuesday night, leaving very little time to clear all the procedural hurdles and send it to the House, where a Republican quagmire over government funding awaits.

The bare bones continuing resolution is intended to make things less complicated for McCarthy. But the California Republican will surely have to rely on Democratic votes to pass the measure in its current form — if he allows it to come up for a vote at all — potentially endangering his speakership.

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