Senate reaches agreement on spending to avoid government shutdown | ET REALITY


Senate Republicans and Democrats reached agreement Tuesday on a stopgap spending plan that would avert a government shutdown on Sunday while providing billions in aid and disaster relief to Ukraine, but the measure faced resistance. in the Republican-led House of Representatives.

The legislation cleared its first procedural hurdle Tuesday night with a bipartisan 77-19 vote. It would keep government funds flowing through Nov. 17 to allow more time for negotiations on a spending bills. year and would also provide about $6 billion for Ukraine’s war effort. such as approximately $6 billion for disaster relief following a series of wildfires and floods.

Senate leaders had hoped to pass it by the end of the week and send it to the House in time to avoid a shutdown that will now begin at midnight Saturday. But there was no guarantee that Speaker Kevin McCarthy would bring the legislation to the House floor for his vote, as some far-right Republicans have said they would try to remove him from office if he did so.

Still, by introducing the legislation, Senate leaders from both parties were increasing pressure on McCarthy, who has failed to craft a temporary spending plan of his own.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said the Senate agreement “will continue to fund the government at current levels while we maintain our commitment to Ukraine’s humanitarian and security needs while ensuring that those affected by disasters throughout the country begin to receive help.” the resources they need.”

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, urged her colleagues to support the plan, warning that the shutdowns “do not achieve the goals that people who advocate for government shutdowns believe they will achieve.”

“I’ve been through two government shutdowns,” Collins said, “and I can tell you they are never good policy.”

The Senate proposal would meet strong resistance from House Republicans because it includes assistance for Ukraine that many of them oppose and maintains federal funding at current levels. Many House Republicans are demanding deep cuts even in an interim funding plan. As a result, McCarthy would need Democratic votes to pass it, and leaning on Democrats would provoke a backlash from his own party.

McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he would not address “hypotheses” about whether he would put an interim plan approved by the Senate to a vote in the House. He and his deputies were hard at work ahead of a vote scheduled for Tuesday night to rally support to allow a group of year-long spending bills to come to the floor for debate, even as a group of Far-right Republicans vowed to continue blocking them.

“I’ve been hearing all this time that they’re going to pass appropriations bills all month long,” McCarthy told reporters at another news conference later in the day. “Remember how everyone wrote about that? They were the good camera. So when they pass something on, come back and ask.”

Senate leaders hoped that strong bipartisan support for the stopgap funding bill would represent a show of force to encourage McCarthy to accept the legislation if it reached the House. Some Senate Republicans supported it despite being uncomfortable that no new border security was included in the plan, but they saw moving forward with the bill as a necessary first step to avoid a shutdown that most considered harmful both from the from a political point of view as a politician.

Senate negotiators had considered trying to move forward with a stopgap bill that would simply keep funding at current levels, believing that might be the least complicated path for McCarthy.

But senators from both parties pushed for some aid for Ukraine, arguing that ignoring the Biden administration’s request for more aid would be an affront to the U.S. ally after President Volodymyr Zelensky made a personal appeal to members of the Congress last week. Both the Ukraine money and the disaster recovery funding are considered down payments on the total amounts requested by the Biden administration: nearly $25 billion for Ukraine and $16 billion for the disaster recovery fund.

Senators also hoped that additional aid for natural disasters would attract votes from those who have expressed opposition to supporting more funding for Ukraine, but who might not be willing to vote against aid for the hardest-hit and closest states, such as Hawaii. and Florida.

Still, aid to Ukraine will complicate matters in the Senate. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and a libertarian, has threatened to use the procedural tools at his disposal to challenge the aid, which could delay the Senate bill’s arrival in the House until the weekend.

The so-called continuing resolution would also extend authority for Federal Aviation Administration programs that expire through the end of the year, extend some community health programs and maintain higher wages for those fighting wildfires, since the original source of money for extinction is running out.

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