Government shutdown: Senate leaders reach deal on short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown



CNN

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cut a deal and are spinning off a 79-page short-term spending bill to keep the government open by Saturday, according to a draft obtained by CNN.

With government funding set to expire at midnight Saturday, there is no guarantee the Senate stopgap bill will pass the House as a caucus of conservatives continues to fight against the prospect of a short-term funding extension.

Schumer said earlier Tuesday that the short-term funding bill would include some aid for Ukraine and areas affected by natural disasters, despite some GOP opposition to including foreign aid in the law.

“We will continue to fund the government at current levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs and ensuring that victims of natural disasters across the country receive the resources they need,” he announced on the Senate floor.

Adding aid to Ukraine is at odds with the House, where many conservative Republicans oppose sending more aid to the war-torn country.

Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that funding for Ukraine should not be included in a short-term spending package and should instead be a full bill.

“Will it be in CR? My answer is no, it should be dealt with in a supplement,” the California Republican said, a reference to the continuing resolution, or CR, which is a short-term funding annex.

“I don’t understand that when all these people around the country are talking about the challenges that are happening in America today, people are going to go and say, ‘Oh, we should go to Ukraine and ignore what’s happening on our border.’ I think that’s the wrong approach,” he said.

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McCarthy was undecided whether he would put stopgap measures passed by a bipartisan Senate to avoid a strike on the floor this week ahead of the deadline.

Now that the Senate has released its own stopgap measure, the chamber must still pass it before it is sent to the House, and any senator can pass it under tight time constraints.

Meanwhile, since the GOP lacks the votes to pass the stopgap bill, McCarthy is focusing on an effort earlier in the week To advance recurring expenditure billsincluding the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Passage of those bills won’t end the shutdown over the weekend, but McCarthy hoped the pace of the measures could shift enough holdouts to support the Republican stopgap bill as conservatives demand passage of a full year’s worth of funding bills. Still, it’s unclear even those bills can advance amid deep divisions within the House Republican caucus.

McCarthy is expected to face another test of his leadership on Tuesday, as House GOP leadership plans to hold a procedural vote to advance those measures. Expected votes will come after the hardliners A similar practice lost the vote A defense bill last week caused major embarrassment for House GOP leaders. All eyes will be on the mansion to see if the scene repeats itself.

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

On Tuesday, McCarthy again lashed out at the hardliners who took over the party last week and would not support a practical movement to move forward. When pressed this week on whether he believed they would be in line, he criticized their efforts as counterproductive. “I don’t understand why anyone would block the ability to secure the border, and I think that’s the wrong position if they want to stand with President Biden by keeping the border open.”

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McCarthy indicated that if the House can pass a series of spending bills lined up for consideration this week, he will put a stopgap measure on the floor that includes border provisions.

“If we hit these next four, that would be 72% of all discretionary spending. This week I will put a continuing resolution on the floor that will protect our border,” he told reporters.

McCarthy insisted that a government shutdown was the worst option and warned his conference of the dangers of that strategy. “I don’t think the strikes will ever help,” he said.

The Senate is set to hold an early procedural vote on Tuesday evening to advance the House-passed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill — which could be used as a legislative vehicle for the Senate’s stopgap bill to prevent a shutdown.

Because the FAA’s current authority expires at the end of September, a stopgap funding extension could be incorporated into the FAA bill, creating another deadline for lawmakers to act.

A shutdown would have major ramifications that would be felt across the country. If that happens, many government activities will be suspended, while some services deemed “essential” will continue.

Government operations and services that continue during the shutdown are deemed necessary to protect public safety and national security, or are deemed important for other reasons. Examples of services that have continued during past shutdowns include border security, federal law enforcement, and air traffic control.

The White House on Tuesday highlighted the “damaging effects” of the shutdown, which undermines national security, pointing to 1.3 million active duty military members who will not be paid until the shutdown ends and layoffs of civilian Defense Department employees.

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This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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