Wednesday, December 8

US Congress accelerates to avoid government shutdown

(CNN) — US government funding expires at midnight and Congress has yet to pass an interim funding bill to avoid a shutdown, though Democratic leaders are on track to do so later this Thursday.

Lawmakers are speeding up the process and the Senate and House of Representatives are expected to vote to pass a short-term funding patch to keep government open. Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, have so far projected confidence that a shutdown will not occur, but with the deadline fast approaching, lawmakers have no margin for error.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that a deal had been reached, paving the way for Thursday’s vote in the House of Representatives on an ongoing resolution (RC), which maintains the government funded at current levels for a set period of time.

“We have an agreement on CR, the resolution continues to avoid a government shutdown, and we should vote on that tomorrow morning,” said Schumer, a Democratic New York lawmaker.

Beginning at 10:30 am ET Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to conduct several amendment votes before voting on the continuing resolution. The House is expected to adopt the measure later Thursday once it is approved by the Senate.

Congressional Democrats initially attempted to address the issue of government funding alongside the debt cap, a strategy that was thwarted by Republicans in the Senate who have insisted that Democrats must act alone on the debt cap.

On Monday, the Senate adopted a House-approved bill that would have extended government funding to avoid a shutdown and suspended the debt limit, but Republicans blocked the measure. Senate Republicans have said they would support a “clean” interim funding bill to avoid a shutdown if it did not contain a debt limit provision.

If lawmakers manage to avoid a shutdown by passing a “clean” interim bill, the debt limit issue will be resolved later with another key deadline fast approaching.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the federal government will likely run out of cash and extraordinary measures by October 18, leaving Congress with little time to act and avoid what would likely be a catastrophic default.

Democrats have the option of raising the debt ceiling on their own through a process known as budget reconciliation, but have argued that that route is too risky and would risk default, so it is unclear how the debt will be resolved. trouble.

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