House passes short-term spending bill to avoid government shutdown
The House passed a short-term spending bill on Wednesday that would fund the government for another week while lawmakers make an eleventh hour push to pass a full year-long omnibus package prior to the Dec. 23 deadline.
After clearing the lower chamber in a 224-201 vote, the measure now moves to the Senate. The bill must secure passage in the upper chamber and reach President Joe Biden's desk for signature prior to midnight on Friday to prevent a government shutdown, according to The Hill.
The bill's advancement comes as some Republicans want to wait to negotiate next year's spending until Republicans take control of the House in January so as to put more pressure on Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, has lent his support to a compromise spending package that he asserts represents the best deal the GOP will get.
That support has drawn flak from more conservative Republicans, who have accused the Kentucky lawmaker of pressuring them to sign on to a funding package they have not yet been able to read.
Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy announced on Wednesday that Senate negotiators had "reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the president." Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the leading GOP negotiator, expressed optimism that the upper chamber would finalize the plan by Dec. 23.
Though nine House Republicans backed the short-term bill, House GOP leaders were sour on using it to buy time for a last-minute full-year omnibus.
"We're 20 days before the new members are being sworn in. We've got two members leading appropriations in the Senate who will no longer be here, or be able to be held accountable to the constituents," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, per the outlet. "We should not move a short-term CR. We should move one further into the new year."
Both Leahy and Shelby will leave office when the next Congress is sworn in.
"Allow the American people what they said a month ago — to change Washington as we know it today. We can't afford to continue to spend the way the Democrats have. The future generation cannot afford it as well," he continued.