Government shutdown avoided as Congress passes temporary funding bill

The bill will fund the government through Nov. 17

A view of the U.S. Capitol building
Congress has been able to fund the government — at least for the next 47 days
(Image credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate voted 88-9 on Saturday to pass a temporary bill to fund the government, avoiding a federal shutdown for the next 47 days. The bill's passage came hours prior to the midnight deadline that would've cut off funding for federal agencies across the country.

The bill was introduced in the House earlier in the day, and passed with bipartisan support in the lower chamber with a 335-91 vote. It will now head to President Biden to be signed into law. 

The bill keeps the federal government funded through Nov. 17, and includes additional natural disaster funds for various states, including wildfire-ravaged Hawaii. In notable omissions, there is no additional funding for border security or Ukraine. Some Republicans had objected to giving Ukraine more military aid, and many Democrats were opposed to the border funds. 

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The stopgap bill marks the temporary end of a contentious period in Congress, particularly in the House, where in-fighting among Republican factions had largely brought negotiations to a standstill. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had attempted to pass a last-minute, partisan stopgap bill to appease the most conservative members of the House GOP, mostly in the far-right House Freedom Caucus. However, the House's far-right bloc voted against the bill on Friday, and it appeared that a shutdown was inevitable.

But in a surprise turnabout Saturday morning, McCarthy was able to get a funding bill to pass. This happened after the speaker "suddenly abandoned demands for steep spending cuts from his right flank and instead relied on Democrats to pass the bill," The Associated Press reported. This could put him at risk of facing a removal vote helmed by his Freedom Caucus opponents.  

Congress now has until mid-November to reach a more permanent funding deal, although this will still be "a towering challenge," as noted by NBC News.

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