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Senate passes bill to fund stopgap, avoid shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate passed a short-term spending bill aimed at avoiding a brief shutdown and funding the federal government through February 18 after leaders eased the deadlock. partisan rules on federal vaccine mandates. The measure has now been turned over to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Earlier, on Thursday, Congressional leaders announced they had finally reached an agreement to keep the government open for another 11 weeks, generally at current spending levels, while adding seven more. billion dollars to assist the displaced Afghans.

After the House voted to pass the bill, the senators soon announced a deal that would allow them to vote quickly.

“I am glad that in the end, cool heads prevailed. Government will remain open and I thank the members of this chamber for bringing us back to the brink of an avoidable, unnecessary, and costly shutdown,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y said.

The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 69-28.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the measure by a margin of 221-212 votes. Republican leadership urged members to vote no; The GOP’s only vote on the bill came from Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Lawmakers have complained about the short-term solution and blamed the opposition party for the lack of progress on this year’s spending bills. Representative Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the measure would, however, allow negotiations on a package that would cover the entire year’s budget through September.

“Make no mistake, a vote against this continuation resolution is a vote to shut down the government,” DeLauro said during the House debate.

Before the vote, Biden said he had spoken with Senate leaders and that he had played down concerns about the shutdown.

“There’s a plan in place unless someone decides it’s completely capricious, and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Biden said.

Some Republicans opposed to Biden’s vaccine regulations want Congress to take a hard line against mandatory orders for workers at larger businesses, even if it means closed federal offices for the weekend by blocking a request to expedite a final vote on the spending bill.

It’s just the latest example of the predicament around government funding that has caused a number of costly and partial closures over the past two decades. The longest shutdown in history occurred under President Donald Trump – 35 days stretching back to January 2019, when Democrats refused to approve money for his US-Mexico border wall. Both parties agreed that the outages were irresponsible, yet little time passed without a late controversy to avoid them.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, said last month Democrats knew that some Republicans would use every means at their disposal to oppose legislation to fund or allow vaccine authorization. employer. He blamed Schumer for not negotiating and ignoring their stance.

If the choice is between “pausing non-essential functions” or standing still while Americans lose their ability to work, “I will always stand with American workers,” Lee said.

Lee and Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kan., are the authors of an amendment that prohibits the use of federal dollars to conduct and enforce a variety of vaccine mandates introduced by the Biden administration. The amendment failed with 48 yes and 50 no votes. But voting opened the door to taking the entire spending bill at once.

Lee said millions of people are forced to choose between an unwanted medical procedure and losing their job.

“Their jobs are being threatened by their government,” Lee said.

“Give employers reassurance and employees peace of mind that they will still have jobs this new year,” Marshall urged ahead of the vote.

Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., opposes that the federal government should use every tool to keep Americans safe and that’s why the Biden administration has taken steps to urge people Employers ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated or tested negative before they arrive at work.

“No one wants to go to work and worry that they might come home with a deadly virus,” says Murray.

The White House sees vaccination as the fastest way to end a pandemic that has killed more than 780,000 people in the United States and is still growing, as seen Wednesday with The country’s first detected case of a troublesome new variant.

Courts have resisted the duties, including a Judgment this week prevent enforcement of a requirement for certain health care workers.

For some Republicans, the courts and lawmakers’ concerns about potentially disruptive shutdowns are factors against participating in the high-stakes shutdown. .

“One of the things I’m a bit concerned about is: Why are we making ourselves the object of public attention by creating the specter of a government shutdown?” Texas Senator John Cornyn, a GOP leader said.

The administration has pursued vaccine requirements for some groups of workers, but the effort is running into legal obstacles.

A federal judge this week blocked the administration from enforcing a vaccination ban on thousands of health care workers in 10 states. Earlier, a federal appeals court temporarily stopped OSHA requirements affect employers with 100 or more workers.

The administration has also introduced policies that require millions of federal employees and federal contractors, including the military, to be fully vaccinated. Those efforts are also being challenged.

Polls from Associated Press programs Americans are divided about Biden’s effort to vaccinate workers, with Democrats overwhelmingly on it while most Republicans opposed it.

Some Republicans like Senator Mike Braun, R-Ind.’s attempt to vote to reject the administration’s mandates in a congressional review action scheduled for next week, separating separate from the funding war.

Separately, some healthcare providers have opposed the stopgap spending measure. Hospitals say they are doing nothing to protect them from Medicare payment cuts expected to take effect amid uncertainty about the new omicron variant.

https://kfor.com/news/senate-passes-stopgap-funding-bill-avoiding-shutdown/ Senate passes bill to fund stopgap, avoid shutdown

Dais Johnston

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