Senate Passes Government Funding Package With Shutdown Two Days Away

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Senate passed a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government open through Dec. 16, just two days before funding will run out.

Twenty-two Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined all 50 Democrats in supporting the resolution. All 25 “no” votes came from Republicans, while three more were absent. The House is expected to vote on the funding package Friday, as the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations package runs out at the end of September.

The continuing resolution includes $12.3 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as $2.5 billion to support New Mexico’s wildfire recovery and $20 million to support Jackson, Mississippi’s water infrastructure. It also includes more than $18 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund, which will help support Florida’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

“We likely will not know the extent of the damage for several days, but we are the United States of America, and I am ready to work with my colleagues to respond with what is needed,” Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont said in a floor speech. “I am glad that we have reached agreement to fund the federal government through December 16, and I want to thank my friend Vice Chairman Shelby and Leaders Schumer and McConnell for their work and cooperation in reaching this point.”

Notably, the resolution does not contain any funding for COVID-19. President Joe Biden said on Sept. 18 that the “pandemic is over,” although the White House still requested more than $22 billion to combat the virus. The continuing resolution also did not include any funding to combat monkeypox. (RELATED: Democrats To Lard Up Must-Pass Funding Bill With Partisan Provisions)

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin pulled his energy permitting reform package from the continuing resolution on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York initially promised Manchin that the Energy Independence and Security Act would pass the Senate in exchange for his support for the Inflation Reduction Act. However, left-wing Democrats in both chambers and Senate Republicans refused to support the resolution if it included Manchin’s proposal.

“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. “I stand ready to work with my colleagues to move forward on this critical legislation to meet the challenges of delivering affordable reliable energy Americans desperately need.”

Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is whipping against the bill, although it is still expected to pass.