Senate Approves House-Passed Stopgap Government Funding Measure to Avoid Shutdown

Senate Approves House-Passed Stopgap Government Funding Measure to Avoid Shutdown
The U.S. Capitol Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber

The Senate on Friday approved a one-week stopgap funding bill less than 11 hours before funding for the government runs out.

The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent, which means no recorded vote was undertaken but any single senator could have blocked the funding.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had said they didn't want to pass the funding without a vote being held on their amendment for a second round of stimulus checks, but backed off in the end.

”I am prepared to withdraw my objection for this moment, but I will not be prepared to withdraw my objection next week," Sanders said on the Senate floor. We will deal with the financial crisis facing tens of millions of Americans, and if I have anything to say about it—and I guess I do—we're not going to go home for the Christmas holidays unless we make sure that we provide for the millions of families in this country who are suffering."

Hawley added, "This is a very simple thing that we're talking about, and I can boil it down real easily: if the Senate of the United States can find hundreds of billions of dollars to give to big government and big business, surely it can find some relief for working families and working individuals."

Their proposal would have sent $1,200 checks to most adults, with parents getting an additional $500 per child.

The Senate approval came after the House on Dec. 9 passed the measure 343-67. All Democrats voted for the funding.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure.

With only one week of funding, legislators are still grappling with a larger deal on government funding.

The resolution "represents a failure,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement this week. “The House passed its government funding bills in July, while the Senate failed to do its work. We need to reach an agreement to fund the government as soon as possible.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in a statement after the Senate approval on Friday that the weeklong resolution will enable lawmakers to negotiate the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill and on COVID-19 relief. [delete]

"I'm hopeful that we can reach a resolution soon on both. The American people expect us do our job, which includes providing government agencies, in particular our military and veterans, with needed funding," he said.

Without funding, the government would shut down, with many workers being furloughed. the Last shutdown started on Dec. 22, 2018, and lasted 35 days.