Shutdown averted: Senate clears stopgap bill with hours to spare

Shutdown averted: Senate clears stopgap bill with hours to spare

The Senate cleared a stopgap funding bill Saturday night, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk just in time to avert a government shutdown.

The legislation effectively punts the deadline for Congress’ various spending fights to Nov. 17. It passed the upper chamber by a wide margin, 88-9.

“It’s been a day full of twists and turns, but the American people can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no government shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said shortly after passage.

The package is a departure from Senate leaders’ original ambitions to include Ukraine aid in the short-term funding bill. The final version of the bill — which overwhelmingly passed the House with bipartisan support Saturday afternoon — only includes disaster relief alongside regular government funding. Senate Democrats now say they’ll be seeking a supplemental bill to continue assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“Most Senate Republicans remain committed to helping our friends on the front lines,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Passage was slightly delayed Saturday night, when Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Co.) temporarily objected to moving the bill forward, pushing for commitments on Ukraine aid. Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Co.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) both discussed the matter with Bennet Saturday evening, according to two sources. Bennet’s hesitation seemed to be resolved by about 8 p.m., when the Senate unanimously agreed to take up the package.

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