Senate passes stopgap government funding bill, sends to House

Senate passes stopgap government funding bill, sends to House

The Senate passed a stopgap government funding bill, sending it to the House of RepresentativesHouse of Representatives in a key step to avert a government shutdown as the fiscal year ends on Friday.

After West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's plan to expedite the permitting process for energy projects was dropped from the bill, Republican senators overwhelmingly supported the stopgap measure. It passed the Senate by a vote of 72 -- 25.

There is a chance that the House will hold a vote on Friday. The bill would keep the government open through December 16, well past the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

In addition to funding the government through mid-December, the continuing resolution includes money for Ukraine, Afghan refugees and natural disasters.

The legislation includes $12.4 billion for Ukraine, more than the $11.7 billion requested by the White House and includes $35 million to respond to potential nuclear and radiological events.

The bill allows the transfer of up to $3 billion from the Pentagon's overseas humanitarian account to Afghan refugees resettlement efforts, and allocates $15.3 million for investigative activities associated with Afghan resettlement operations. The bill doesn't include a pathway for Afghan refugees to become permanent residents, something a group of veterans had been calling for.

The resolution also includes $2 billion for communities affected by natural disasters, as well as $2.5 billion in funding for recovery efforts from the fires in Mexico earlier this year. Another $20 million was allocated for combating the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.

An additional $1 billion is included in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, which helps low income households shoulder the cost of high energy bills.

This bill will keep vital services for the American people up through December 16 and provide critical support for Ukraine while we negotiate a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement. Our top priority is to get full year appropriations bills into law. In a time of rising inflation, when everything costs more - energy, food, fuel, housing, etc. - we must respond accordingly. It would be irresponsible to run on autopilot after December. The Biden administration requested $22 billion for COVID-19 aid, $4 billion to fight monkeypox and 1.5 billion for emergency uranium purchases to reduce reliance on Russia, but three things the Biden administration wanted to do were not included in the bill.