Senate Passes CR Ending Shutdown Threat Until Early 2024

Senate Passes CR Ending Shutdown Threat Until Early 2024

The Senate passed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded until early 2024 late tonight. The unusual “laddered” bill passed the House yesterday and sets two different dates for extending FY2023 funding as work continues on FY2024 appropriations. Despite initial reluctance, House Democrats and Senate Democrats and Republicans ultimately went along with the House Republican idea in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who has been in his job for only three weeks, proposed the staggered deadlines on Saturday. Four of the regular 12 appropriations bills — Agriculture, Energy-Water, MilCon-VA, and Transportation-HUD — have their funding extended until January 19, the remaining eight bills until February 2. The THUD bill that expires on January 19 includes the FAA and its Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The bills that fund NASA and NOAA (Commerce-Justice-Science) and national security (Defense) are in the February 2 group.

The Senate vote was 87-11.

The bill now goes to President Biden who is expected to sign it.

Passage of the bill is both a surprise and a relief.  Over the weekend expectations were high that no agreement could be reached before Friday night when the existing CR expires leaving government workers in limbo over the Thanksgiving holiday. Speaker Johnson, however, decided to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and rely on Democratic votes to pass the bill in the House over the opposition of many of his Republican colleagues. His predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted as Speaker by Republicans when he chose that route on September 30. What repercussions Johnson may suffer remains to be seen.

Democrats ultimately decided to support the bill because it did not include deep spending cuts or social policy provisions they oppose. Basically it was good enough.

Still, it is just another extension. The FY2024 appropriations bills still need to pass before the new deadlines arrive.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, admonished her colleagues tonight that they should not be celebrating passage of the CR. A lot of work needs to be done to pass the regular appropriations bills and the two supplementals for national defense and domestic needs.

Avoiding a shutdown is so very far from Mission Accomplished. We have a lot of work to do after the dust settles and before the next shutdown deadline comes up. Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and pass supplemental funding to address urgent global challenges and critical priorities here at home….

Turning to the year ahead, if you don’t want to be right back here in a few weeks, facing a one-two punch shutdown threat, we need all of us to get serious about one year spending bills. — Sen. Patty Murray

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