The federal government took a big step away from a partial shutdown starting this weekend after the Senate voted 72-23 on Tuesday night to advance legislation that would fund the government at current levels until Dec. 16. Passage of the stoppage spending bill was ensured after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to remove a section of the bill designed to speed up permitting for energy-related infrastructure projects, including a pipeline through West Virginia.
"It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk," Manchin said in a statement. Schumer, who had promised to include Manchin's measure in exchange for his support for a massive climate and health package, said that "Sen. Manchin, myself, and others will continue to have conversations about the best way to ensure responsible permitting reform is passed before the end of the year."
At least a dozen Republicans and two Democrats signaled they wouldn't vote for the broader spending bill if it included Manchin's proposal. Other provisions that remained in the stopgap funding legislation include $12.3 billion in military and other emergency aid for Ukraine; $20 million to fix Jackson, Mississippi's water crisis; $1 billion to help low-income Americans afford heating costs this winter; $2 billion to help communities recover from natural disasters in 2021 and 2022; and reauthorization of an FDA user-fee agreement for prescription drugs and medical devices.
Funding for the federal government runs out at midnight on Friday, at the end of the fiscal year. The Senate still needs to give final approval to its bill, sending it to the House and, if passed, Biden's desk. The House returns to session on Wednesday.