Congress Set to Avert Government Shutdown

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Democrats and Republicans reach agreement to vote on short-term spending bill

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In addition to keeping existing government funding for several more weeks, the bill also includes $28.6 billion in emergency disaster aid and $6.3 billion to help resettle Afghan evacuations. Democrats initially sought to attach a suspension of debt limits to the funding bill, but Republicans declined to vote to raise the government’s borrowing limits, tanking that effort in the Senate.

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The ongoing partisan fight over debt limits has pushed lawmakers to the October 1 funding deadline, although Congress often extends government spending at the last minute.

Even a brief shutdown would trigger furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, but critical tasks such as border security, benefits checks and airport operations will continue.

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The Office of Management and Budget started preparations for a possible money default earlier this month. Federal agencies have detailed contingency plans that state which employees will be laid off and may need to continue working, as well as which agency functions will be temporarily stopped and which will continue.

Republican amendments that won a vote in the Senate are concerned with limiting government benefits for which Afghan withdrawals are eligible, halting the use of federal funds for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and cutting lawmakers’ salaries if they have time. The spenders do not approve of the law. .

The effort to keep the government running comes against the backdrop of an effort to pass a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Thursday. The Public Works law, which passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support, has been mired in a tug of war between the liberal and progressive wings of the Democratic Party. Progressives are threatening to block the infrastructure bill unless liberal members sign on to support a separate, comprehensive bill focused on climate change, education and health care.

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