Congress Dodges Gov’t Shutdown, Passes Two-Week Spending Bill

Juliegrace Brufke | Capitol Hill Reporter

Congress managed to dodge a government shutdown after the Senate passed a two-week continuing resolution Thursday, just one day before government funding was set to expire.

Lawmakers now have until Dec. 22 to negotiate a longer-term spending bill, which will have to pass with 60 votes in the Senate.

While members were able to temporarily delay the threat of a shutdown, leadership from both parties are gearing up for a spending battle in coming weeks.

House conservatives are pushing to pass a one-year defense funding bill separately from the second longer-term continuing resolution ahead of Congress’ Dec. 22 deadline. They hope they can force Democrats to agree to higher defense funding without raising spending in other areas.

The passage of the two-week bill follows President Donald Trump’s meeting on spending with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Thursday afternoon.

“The president had a constructive meeting with Congressional Leadership and Defense Secretary Mattis, and the parties agreed on the need for eliminating the defense sequester to deal with the grave national security threats we face,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The president, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell also stressed that negotiations on immigration should be held separately on a different track, and not as part of the government funding bill.”

The House passed the clean two-week CR early Thursday evening.

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