Congress Reaches Deal On Stopgap Funding Bill As Shutdown Looms

Andrew Trunsky 

Congress reached a deal on Thursday morning to fund the government through Feb. 18, the first step in avoiding a shutdown set to begin at midnight Friday.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, made the announcement. The continuing resolution would keep government funding at current levels until a broader agreement is reached to fund the government for the 2022 fiscal year.

“To build pressure for an omnibus, the CR includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy,” DeLauro said in a statement, noting that Democrats did secure $7 billion to aid Afghanistan evacuees. “While I wish it were earlier, this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people.”

The agreement could precede a House vote later Thursday. The stopgap bill, however, would then head to the Senate, where a pocket of Republicans have pledged to use procedural tactics to delay it unless they receive an amendment vote on scrapping funding for President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccine mandates.

Although the Senate could pass the bill Friday before the shutdown goes into effect, it could also take up to nine days to pass the measure if Republicans do not cooperate, risking a shutdown that could last a week.

But the agreement was lauded by Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, even as he urged Congress to come to a consensus on a broader funding bill.

“I am pleased that we have finally reached an agreement on the continuing resolution,” he said. “Now we must get serious about completing [fiscal year 2022] bills … That means maintaining legacy riders, eliminating poison pills, and getting serious about the funding we are going to provide for our nation’s defense. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll be having this same conversation in February.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Thursday morning that a shutdown would be averted.

“We are not going to shut the government down,” he said. “That makes no sense for anyone. Almost no one on either side thinks that’s a good idea.”

This article has been updated.

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