‘Back from the brink’: Congress passes short-term bill to avoid government shutdown

Lawmakers this week once again scrambled to pass a short-term continuing resolution to provide federal funding and avert a potential government shutdown.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives did its part on Thursday, passing a bill largely along party lines that would extend government funding through mid-February.

According to Fox News, H.R. 6119 passed by a vote of 221–212 in the House and then advanced to the Senate for its consideration.

Congress averts government shutdown

Of course, the bill made few significant alterations to prior spending levels. The stopgap measure is designed to buy time for yet another massive omnibus spending package to be hashed out in Congress to provide funding throughout the remainder of next year.

Senators subsequently followed the House’s lead and passed the measure on Friday, though not without first dealing with a potential roadblock set up by a handful of Republicans.

A group led by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) threatened to delay a vote on the bill and force a government shutdown unless the package included specific language preventing the Biden administration from funding and enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

In the end, however, the proposed amendment was put up for a vote and failed by a margin of 50-48.

“Comfortable with being petty tyrants”

Every Senate Democrat voted against the language while all Republicans — aside from two who were not present to cast a vote — supported it.

Without the vaccine-related amendment, the continuing resolution eventually passed with a vote of 69-28.

“We have seen in the course of this pandemic Democrats being very comfortable with being petty tyrants and decreeing that you must obey their medical mandates,” Cruz said in response.

President Joe Biden signed the bill, also known as the Further Extending Government Funding Act, into law on Friday, narrowly dodging a shutdown set to go into effect at midnight. He used the opportunity to express gratitude to a number of Democratic lawmakers who worked to write the bill and pass it in time to avoid the deadline.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) referenced the partisan dispute, asserting: “I’m glad that, in the end, cooler heads prevailed, the government will stay open, and I thank the members of this chamber for walking us back from the brink of an avoidable, needless, and costly shutdown.”

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