22 Senate Republicans Join Democrats to Clear Path for Short-Term Continuing Resolution

22 Senate Republicans Join Democrats to Clear Path for Short-Term Continuing Resolution
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a cloture vote of a continuing resolution to fund the government, in Washington, Sept. 27, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Mark Tapscott
Senate Democrats gained a temporary victory late Tuesday when 22 Republicans joined with them in voting to remove a procedural obstacle to passage of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that keeps the federal government open through Dec. 16 and approves more than $15 billion in additional military and operational aid for Ukraine.

The 22 GOP senators voting for the motion to invoke cloture and proceed to consideration of the CR joined with all 50 Senate Democrats on a 72–23 roll call. The Senate will reconvene on Wednesday morning and take up final action on the CR.

Besides additional aid to Ukraine, the CR provides $1 billion more for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and $2 billion in emergency disaster aid assistance. There are also provisions making $2.5 billion available in compensation for victims of a devastating New Mexico wildfire.

The House is expected to approve the CR later this week and President Joe Biden will sign it into law. At that point, Congress will leave town, as senators and representatives head home to campaign in the mid-term election on Nov. 8. All 435 House seats  and one-third of the Senate’s 100 seats are up for grabs.

But all of the lawmakers from both chambers will have to come back during the post-election Lame Duck session and complete work on a 2023 budget. The December vote will provide Democrats with opportunities to increase federal spending above levels in the CR.

The way was cleared earlier in the afternoon for the procedural vote after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) had agreed to drop the provision in the CR that would implement reforms to speed up how the government considers permits from energy companies for developing new resources.

The Manchin proposal, which would also speed up approvals for infrastructure projects such as new electricity transmission lines to carry power from wind and solar sources, drew stout opposition from Senate Republicans and many of the chamber’s most liberal Democrats.

The CR is necessary because, for the 43rd time since 1976, Congress has failed this year to adopt a comprehensive federal budget for Fiscal Year 2023 that begins Oct. 1. The CR mostly maintains current spending levels through Dec. 16, when Congress is expected to either adopt a massive omnibus budget measure or extend the CR into the 118th Congress, which convenes Jan. 3, 2023.

The hopes of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans to stop the Democrats’ CR and force consideration of a “clean” version that would carry into the new year were dashed when the 21 Republicans voted with Democrats on the motion to invoke cloture and proceed to the final decision on the CR.

The GOP senators voting with the Democrats, in addition to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, were Susan Collins of Maine, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Cornyn of Texas, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana, Todd Young of Indiana, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and John Boozman of Arkansas.

Several of the Republicans voting with the Democrats on the procedural motion are expected to support the Lame Duck CR, including Collins, Shelby, Portman, and Cornyn.

“Every day that we delay is a problem for our national security because it prevents new starts and continues to fund programs that are not worthy of funding,” Collins told The Hill on Sept. 21. “It delays the pay raise for our troops.”

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn also told The Hill he will back a lame duck session vote because he believes “it makes sense to try to do our business this year if we can, so we don’t have to start from scratch next year.”

Correction: A previous version of this article inaccurately stated the number of Republican senators who voted to advance the CR. It was 22. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Mark Tapscott is an award-winning investigative editor and reporter who covers Congress, national politics, and policy for The Epoch Times. Mark was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and he was named Journalist of the Year by CPAC in 2008. He was a consulting editor on the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Other Than Honorable” in 2014.